Concentration camp trees given new life

Edgwarebury cemetery has held a dedication ceremony for a horse-chestnut tree grown from a conker a Merseyside couple brought back from Theresienstadt concentration camp.

The tree was one of three cultivated by William and Anne Moss from Theresienstadt conkers. Over a 10-year period, they blossomed to 10 feet, outgrowing their pots and the couple needed to find them new homes.

Following a JC article in August, Edgwarebury cemetery and the Jewish Joint Burial Society (JJBS) offered to take the remaining saplings, Liverpool King David High having claimed the first.

Edgwarebury director Paul Van der Hulks said the tree had been planted as part of a Holocaust memorial garden.
“It seemed appropriate that we were ending the year with a serene and calm dedication.”

Among the 60 people at Sunday’s ceremony were Liberal Judaism’s Rabbi Danny Rich and Rabbi Harry Jacobi, the latter a child refugee to Britain on the Kindertransport. Also present were Rabbi Helen Freeman of West London Synagogue and Rabbi Rodney Mariner of Belsize Square Synagogue. The tree was dedicated by Rabbi Israel Elia of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation. On Mitzvah Day the previous week, the JJBS planted a Theresienstadt sapling at the recently opened Woodland cemetery in Cheshunt.

Mrs Moss was “so grateful that homes have been found for the trees. Now we will be able to see these trees growing. Both cemeteries held very moving ceremonies.This was about the children of Theresienstadt.”

The original tree was planted by a teacher in the camp during Tu b’Shvat, the new year for trees. Child inmates gave up their meagre water rations to nurture it.

    Last updated: 2:27pm, November 29 2012