Keeping the memory alive

By Rabbi Aaron Gol...
April 19, 2012

Between 1941 and 1945 over 15,000 young children were sent to Terezin: only 100 survived. This June is the 70th year since the deportations began from Czech and Slovak villages, towns and cities; including those where our Synagogue's Torah Scrolls belonged - Kladno, Kolin, Plzen, Spisska Nova Ves, Trebon. During these bitter years the children were encouraged by their parents and teachers to paint and draw and write poetry: To keep their spirits, their hopes and their young humanity.

They also sought to celebrate the Jewish Festivals. On the morning of, January 21st 1943, a group of children secretly gathered in a courtyard near their barracks. They were there because it was Tu B’shevat, the festival of the New Year for Trees. They planted a seedling which their teacher, Irma Lauscher smuggled into the camp hidden in a boot.

The tree was a symbol of hope and successive groups of children nurtured it as they passed through Terezin. The tree and the teacher survived and Irma Lauscher transplanted the tree to the Terezin Cemetery to serve as a memorial.

In 1996, a party from NPLS visited Terezin and Rabbi Andrew Goldstein conducted a service of remembrance under the tree. One of the party picked up some seedlings. They were germinated and nurtured by NPLS members, Cyril and Penny Sherwood, Walter and Sylvia Weg.

In 2001, National Holocaust Memorial Day, the Sherwood’s sapling was planted at Beth Shalom, the Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire. On January 27th 2002, National Holocaust Memorial Day and the eve of Tu B’shevat, the Mayor of Hillingdon planted the Weg’s tree in this place, the verge of Green Lane Car park, Northwood. Sadly the original tree died in the 2004 floods in the Czech Republic.

Today, we rededicate this plaque that states the origin of this tree. It serves as a constant reminder to all who pass it, of the horrors of the Shoah - the Holocaust - and by our presence here, we say: zachor - We remember.


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