Alex Salmond lauds 'extraordinary' Scots ceremony

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond was a speaker at what he termed an "extraordinary" HMD ceremony at Craigroyston Community High School, north Edinburgh.

Mr Salmond was among the 250 people who heard Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp tell the story of his remarkable escape from the Nazis. Then a baby, he was delivered in a suitcase to a German couple near Arnhem, in Holland. They risked their lives to shelter him and another Jewish child until the liberation in 1945.

"We are immensely proud of our own longstanding Jewish communities here in Scotland," Mr Salmond said. "They have always been and will always remain part of this country's rich tapestry, part of the tartan that makes up Scotland.

"We need to keep telling the world about the Holocaust until the world learns the lesson."

It's left to people like me to be witnesses to witnesses

East Renfrewshire Lord Provost Alex Mackie attended a Shabbat service at Glasgow Reform Synagogue on the HMD theme of Untold Stories. Glasgow Reform chair Caroline Judah said: "It was very moving and thought-provoking hearing young people telling these stories of bravery."

Mr Mackie was also at an Eastwood Park Theatre event on Monday at which journalist Mark Smith spoke about Hershl Sperling, one of the few survivors of Treblinka. Mr Sperling - who became a Glasgow resident - took his own life in 1989. He is the subject of a book by Mr Smith.

"People like inspirational tales with the Holocaust but that's not always OK with this subject," Mr Smith said. "In Darfur and Cambodia there'll be a lot of tales like Hershl Sperling's and there isn't always a happy ending. As that generation dies, it's left to families and people like me to be witnesses to witnesses."

Conservative MSP Annabel Goldie was another guest.

Last updated: 9:55am, February 4 2011