Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust survivor kept her jewels hidden

February 3, 2011

Lily Ebert, 80, claims to be the only Auschwitz survivor to have left with her jewellery.

Born in Hungary, she was sent to a ghetto with her mother and siblings. "My brother took my mother's jewellery, a diamond ring and my pendant, and put it in the heel of my mother's shoe. He was then taken away to a forced labour camp.

"From the ghetto, we were taken in cattle trucks - five terrible days with little food or water. You could not sleep or move. On the last day my mother said to me: 'Maybe we should swap shoes.'"


Eric Pickles pledges £1.5m funding for HMD

By Jessica Elgot, February 3, 2011

The government will fund at least two more years of Holocaust Memorial Day activity with a £1.5 million grant but wants to make the organisers less dependent on state support.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced the continuation of funding at the national HMD event last Thursday at the Royal Horticultural Society halls in London.

The department will work with the HMD Trust over the next two years to ensure that its business model is less reliant on government funding.


Muslim leader urges tolerance on Auschwitz visit

By Jennifer Lipman, February 2, 2011

A senior British Muslim leader has called on Muslims to support Jews in the fight against prejudice while on a multifaith visit to Auschwitz.

More than 150 Christian, Muslim and Jewish dignitaries from around the world, including Jordan, Turkey and Iraq went on the visit, organised to follow last week’s international Holocaust Memorial Day. Prayers were read in both Arabic and English.


Government to keep funding Holocaust Memorial Day

By Jessica Elgot, January 28, 2011

The government will fund at least two more years of the Holocaust Memorial Day with a grant of £1.5m.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced the funding will continue at the national HMD event last night.

He said: “Antisemitism and other forms of bigotry have sadly not yet been relegated to the history books. It’s the responsibility of every one of us to challenge divisive views and discrimination whenever we see them.


William Hague: UK committed to Holocaust memorial efforts

By Jennifer Lipman, January 27, 2011

William Hague has pledged that the British government will “take an active approach” to Holocaust education.

The Foreign Secretary said he was determined to encourage a “wider public understanding of the history of 1933-1945, and the lessons to be drawn” and called on other countries to do the same.

Mr Hague, who visited Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum Yad Vashem last November, said: “This will be done through a more co-ordinated effort to bring justice and assistance to Holocaust victims.


BBC's Martha Kearney remembers Holocaust survivor relative

January 27, 2011

Radio 4 news presenter Martha Kearney spoke movingly about her personal connections to the Shoah at the Holocaust Educational Trust's annual Lord Merlyn-Rees lecture, held on Monday at the Houses of Parliament.

Ms Kearney, the event chair, said her late mother-in-law Isabel Shaw "was a survivor of the camps. It was only in her later years that she began to talk to me about life during the war. That is why I think the work of the Holocaust Educational Trust is so important, by keeping those experiences alive and making sure that other generations learn from them."


David Cameron moved by Auschwitz survivor story

By Jennifer Lipman, January 27, 2011

David Cameron has told a Holocaust survivor how moved he was to read her book about her experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

Trude Levi, 85, was with the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street this week when he signed the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment, pledging to fight prejudice and hatred. Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are among other signatories.

Ms Levi said the Prime Minister had been genuinely interested in hearing more about her story.


Slovaks hail an old soldier

January 27, 2011

The son of a late Woodside Park Synagogue member who served in the Czech Army during the war addressed an HMD ceremony at the Slovak Embassy in London.

Otto Wasserberg escaped from Slovakia with his mother and two brothers in July 1939. Many of his relatives died in Auschwitz.

He was called up by the Czech Army in 1944 and crossed to France after D-Day. He took part in the siege of Dunkirk from September 1944 to May 1945 and witnessed the surrender of the German garrison. After demob in 1946 he established the Mount Fur company in the City of London.


Thanking Muslims for Holocaust heroism

By Jessica Elgot, January 27, 2011

Stories of Albanian Muslims who saved the lives of Jews during the Holocaust are the focus of a campaign for better interfaith relations.

Run by the Exploring Islam Foundation, Missing Pages was launched at the House of Lords in the week of Holocaust Memorial Day. The campaign features an exhibition of photography by Norman Gershman featuring Muslims who protected Jews.


Ed Miliband aide gets first-hand knowledge

January 27, 2011

Streatham MP Chuka Umunna, who is also PPS to Labour leader Ed Miliband, heard the testimony of survivor Agnes Grunwald-Spier at the Lambeth HMD event.

Mr Umunna also addressed the audience and there were contributions from youngsters from Lambeth primary and secondary schools and South London Liberal Synagogue. The shul hosted an educational project for 100 pupils of Dunraven School, Streatham.

In Lewisham, faith groups and children from across the borough came together for an event at the Broadway Theatre, Catford.