Anne Frank remembered

By James Martin and Stephanie Brickman, June 18, 2009

A tearful Mayer Hersh described receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in Holocaust education as “the best day of my life”.
Mr Hersh, who survived nine concentration camps including Auschwitz, was rewarded at the Anne Frank Awards for his work for the Holocaust Education Programme in the north west over the past 30 years.

Gillian Walnes, executive director of the Anne Frank Trust UK, which organises the annual awards, said he had “impacted on tens of thousands of people”.

On receiving his award from Dr Eva Schloss, Anne Frank’s step-sister, Mr Hersh said: “I was one of the lucky ones who survived. Like Anne Frank I contracted typhoid. Unlike her, I came through it.”
Speaking after last week’s ceremony at Parliament, which was hosted by former Tory minister Michael Portillo, Mr Hersh said he was “lost for words at winning such a prestigious award”.

The ceremony, which coincided with what would have been the 80th birthday of the wartime diarist, included the inaugural Miep Gies award, in honour of her 100th birthday and recognising her bravery during the second world war.

In a message from Amsterdam, Mrs Gies described the winner of her award, 20-year-old Nicole Dryburgh, as “special” in reference to her having raised £70,000 for charity despite suffering a spinal trauma and brain haemorage. The award was sponsored by Bee Klug, the trust’s honorary life president.

Also last Thursday, the Scottish Parliament held a reception to mark the 80th birthday, at which 59 members of the Scottish Parliament, from across the political spectrum, signed a motion in support of the Anne Frank Trust Scotland. Also, some 30 MSPs had signed the Anne Frank declaration, a commitment to stand against racism.

Addressing the debating chamber Labour MSP John Park said that, as a teenager, he had been greatly moved by a visit to Anne Frank’s House in Amsterdam.

He called upon Keith Brown, Minister for Schools and Skills, who was in the chamber, to meet members of the Anne Frank Trust to discuss potential future Scottish Government funding. The Trust’s current funding from the Barcapel Foundation, runs out in 2010.

Other events throughout England included 80th birthday activities in communities, including tree planting in honour of Anne Frank and special assemblies in schools.

Last updated: 3:39pm, June 18 2009