The Holocaust

Holocaust heroes honoured by Gordon Brown

By Robyn Rosen, March 11, 2010

A man who sneaked into Auschwitz to "witness its horrors" is among the recipients of a new award which commemorates British heroes of the Holocaust.

Denis Avey, now 91, was a prisoner of war in 1944 when he left a neighbouring camp and swapped uniforms with an unknown prisoner - and managed to save the life of Jewish inmate, Ernst Lobethall.

His story was revealed last year when a connection was made from the recorded testimony Mr Lobethall had given before he died.

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I played Chopin as they sent my family to their deaths

By Jessica Duchen, March 11, 2010

At the age of 106, the concert pianist Alice Sommer Herz is an international celebrity. But despite playing in front of audiences all over the world, perhaps what is most remarkable about her life is her continued capacity for hope in the face of unimaginable suffering.

In 1943, with her husband and their six-year-old son, she was deported from Prague to the Nazis' "model" concentration camp at Terezin; her music helped to sustain her spirit there and throughout her astonishing life.

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Three Auschwitz sign thieves plead guilty

By Jessica Elgot, March 10, 2010

Three men who stole and vandalised the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign from Auschwitz may face up to three years in jail after pleading guilty to the theft.

Five Polish men aged in their 20s and 30s were arrested by police when they recovered the 16-foot wrought-iron sign, which had been cut into three pieces.

Three of the men have pleaded guilty, said Boguslawa Marcinkowska, spokesperson of the Prosecutor’s Office in Krakow.

The prosecution have suggested prison terms between 18 months and three years.

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Gordon Brown honours British Holocaust heroes

By Robyn Rosen, March 8, 2010

Gordon Brown will commemorate more than 20 British heroes of the Holocaust with a new award at a ceremony in Downing Street tomorrow.

The Prime Minister will hold a reception honouring those that risked their lives to help Jews during the Holocaust.

Of those awarded, only two are still alive and will attend the reception: Denis Avey, now 91, who saved an Auschwitz prisoner’s life after temporarily swapping places with an inmate and “British Schindler” Sir Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 children from Czechoslovakia.

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Auschwitz opened my eyes and I have closure

March 4, 2010

I wanted to see Poland to explore my heritage. My small, Yiddish-speaking booba, Bella, came from a town called Szczebrzeszyn in south east Poland. She and her family managed to escape the Nazi onslaught and spent the war working in frozen Siberia.

The Jeneration trip was led by renowned Jewish educator Jeremy Leigh, and we also had a Polish guide, Marcelina, who gave us a different insight into the story of the Jews of Poland.

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Fraudsters steal Holocaust victims reparations money

By Paul Berger, February 18, 2010

An organisation that distributes German reparations to Holocaust victims around the world has fired three employees following a suspected fraud estimated at more than £200,000.

The New York office of the Claims Conference called in a private law firm late last year after employees came forward with suspicions that co-workers had approved dozens of fraudulent applications.

Executive vice president Greg Schneider said he feared the Claims Conference may have discovered "100 or more" fraudulent claims, each worth €2,500 (about £2,100).

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Swedish man arrested for theft of Auschwitz sign

By Jessica Elgot, February 11, 2010

Swedish police have arrested the man wanted in connection with the theft of the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei” sign at Auschwitz in December.

Swedish Prosecutor Agnetha Hilding Qvarnstrom said the police had arrested Anders Hoegstroem, 34, in Stockholm on a European arrest warrant issued by Poland.

Swedish investigators will question Mr Hoegstroem before deciding whether to extradite him to Poland.

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Praise for Paris Holocaust art exhibition

By Toby Axelrod, February 11, 2010

There are many striking elements in artist Christian Boltanski’s new work, Personnes: piles of clothing under cold fluorescent light, the sound of throbbing heartbeats, numbered boxes and a crane.

Ephemeral yet indelible, this is a work of contrasts. Personnes is about the Shoah and yet it is not. It is about death, and life. About individuals and masses. And about what God might, or might not, be.

“I do not work about the Shoah, I work ‘after’ the Shoah,” said Mr Boltanski, 65. “The real issue in my life is the Shoah. I can work around it, but not directly.”

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Fred Knoller organises a march to ensure the Holocaust is not forgotten

By Candice Krieger, February 10, 2010

Auschwitz survivor Freddie Knoller is doing his bit to ensure the atrocities of the Holocaust are never forgotten.

Mr Knoller, 88, is organising a March of the Living 2010 (MOL). Together with Scott Saunders, he will be leading a delegation of British children and adults to Warsaw, Maidanek, Lublin and Kracow.

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Nazi doctor's diary sold to survivor's grandson

By Jessica Elgot, February 3, 2010

The diary of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who experimented on victims at Auschwitz, has been bought by the grandson of a Holocaust survivor.

Known as the “Angel of Death” by the camp’s inmates, Mengele conducted gruesome experiments on inmates, particularly on twins, and ordered the deaths of prisoners with medical problems.

The diary, written when Mengele was in hiding in South America after the war, contains his rants on “racial purity” and the “staining of bloodlines”.

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