UK (University of Huddersfield) Former Holocaust Centre chair Ben Barkow receives CBE

Holocaust Centre North Chair Ben Barkow is celebrating after receiving an honorary CBE for decades of academic work in Holocaust remembrance as he steps down from his role with the Centre after guiding it during some challenging years.

Ben was among the last group to receive honours from Queen Elizabeth II, having worked for over 30 years at the Wiener Library, one of the world’s foremost archives on the Holocaust.

He stepped in to help the University’s Holocaust Centre in 2020 after its Director Lillian Black OBE passed away. In a difficult period for the Centre when it could not welcome visitors for long stretches due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre successfully found ways to share its collection online until pandemic restrictions eased.

Ben says, “What Lillian and the survivors conceived when they resolved to create the exhibition and learning centre in 1996 was such a wonderful idea and so necessary, that to me it was self-evident that this was something I wanted to support. I’ve been delighted to have some input into it.

“In some ways the circumstances of the pandemic worked in our favour at the Centre. It forced us to work out how to do online activities and events, and we found that the demand for them was huge. It has stood the Centre in good stead, they are in a promising situation now and if they can capitalise on it they can really kick on, and of course they have a superb location on the campus.”

Having been born in Berlin, Ben receives an honorary CBE to add to his other accolades, including the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany. He continues as a Trustee of the Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association.

Centre director Alessandro Bucci adds, “Ben is a leading national voice in the field of Holocaust education and awareness. Thanks to his dedication as Chair, our Charity has grown and developed to become a vital hub for our region.”