Key survivor is remembered

By Simon Rocker, March 5, 2009

One of the UK's best known Holocaust survivors was remembered at a memorial service on Sunday, a year after his death at the age of 97.

London-born Leon Greenman endured six Nazi camps but lost his wife Esther and two-year-old son Barney at Auschwitz.

He honoured the pledge he made in the camp to tell what happened "with every breath until his last," recalled Ruth-Anne Lenga, education consultant at the Jewish Museum, who organised the commemoration at the Sternberg Centre in Finchley.

For more than 60 years, Mr Greenman addressed countless school, youth and other groups as well as being on hand to talk to visitors at the Jewish Museum, where an exhibition on his story was opened in 1996. "We calculated he must have spoken to well over a million students in his time," said Ms Lenga.

Two of those students, Chelsie Gray and Jessica Head, from Houndsdown School, Southampton, recalled the impact Mr Greenman had made on them.

Anti-racist activists spoke of a tireless campaigner. Even into his 90s, he brandished his walking stick in protests against the far-right, in defiance of an attack on his home by neo-Nazis.

Five people travelled to the ceremony from Holland - where he had moved at the age of five before returning to Britain after the war - as well as his sister-in-law Yeta Jackson, 81, from Gateshead, who recalled "a true gentleman".

Last updated: 3:17pm, March 5 2009