The Holocaust

Peres' speech to German parliament: In full

January 27, 2010

I stand here before you, as the President of the State of Israel, the home of the Jewish People.

While my heart is breaking at the memory of the atrocious past – my eyes envision a common future for a world that is young, a world free of all hatred.

A world in which the words "war" and "anti-Semitism" will be dead words.

In the Jewish tradition that accompanies us for thousands of years, there exists a prayer in Aramaic recited when mourning the dead, in memory of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters.

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Muslim Council rep will attend Holocaust Memorial

By Martin Bright, January 26, 2010

The Muslim Council of Britain has voted to send a junior representative to the Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration on Wednesday.

After attending for the first time in 2008, the MCB resumed its boycott of the event last year.

The Secretary General of the MCB, Dr Mohamed Abdul Bari will not be attending due, according to the organization, to a diary clash. He is at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Nor will his controversial deputy Duad Abdullah or any of the organisation's Assistant Secretary Generals.

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Brown signs Holocaust memorial book

By Robyn Rosen, January 22, 2010

Gordon Brown has praised the “brave and courageous” 91-year-old Denis Avey, who swapped places with a Jewish prisoner at Auschwitz, as he marked Holocaust Memorial Day.

Mr Avey, along with Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott and members of the Holocaust Educational Trust, visited Downing Street today as part of the lead-up to HMD on Wednesday.

Mr Brown, watched by his wife Sarah, signed the Holocaust memorial book and spoke to the group, which also included two non-Jewish sixth-form pupils who visited Auschwitz last year, for 45 minutes.

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Arab MK to visit Auschwitz

By Ben Lynfield, January 21, 2010

Israeli Arab legislator Mohammed Barakeh is under fire from Arab and Jewish hardliners for deciding to visit Auschwitz as part of a Knesset delegation on International Holocaust Remembrance Day next Wednesday.

But Mr Barakeh, from the hard-left Arab-Jewish Hadash party, is undeterred. “Nothing is going to change my decision.”

Mr Barakeh’s step has been called “courageous” by Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, who invited him.

The move could deal a blow to rampant Holocaust denial in the Arab world.

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Liddle defends his Auschwitz ‘humour’

By Marcus Dysch, January 21, 2010

Journalist Rod Liddle has defended comments he made about Auschwitz in an online forum which contains virulently antisemitic jokes.

Mr Liddle, the former editor of Radio 4’s Today programme, said his remarks needed to be viewed in context and that he had been attempting to show the Nazi death camp has been “rendered politically correct…something much less than it should be”.

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British POW joins Holocaust Memorial Day

By Jessica Elgot, January 20, 2010

The British prisoner of war who helped save the life of an Auschwitz prisoner will join survivors for a memorial service on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Denis Avey, 91, was a prisoner of war in Auschwitz who swapped places with a Jewish inmate. He met Ernst Lobethall, smuggling him cigarettes and bartering to repair his shoes to improve his chances of surviving the harsh winter and death marches.

In 1996, Mr Lobethall told the Shoah Foundation that he credited a British POW with saving his life, who he knew only as “Ginger”. He died in 2002, never meeting Mr Avey again.

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Muslim Council of Britain split over Holocaust Day boycott

By Martin Bright, January 14, 2010

The Muslim Council of Britain has refused to say if it will boycott Holocaust Memorial Day for the second year running.

The umbrella organisation attended the commemoration for the first time in 2008 after it voted to end a longstanding boycott following pressure from government. But the MCB did not attend last year in protest at Israel’s military intervention in Gaza.

However, MCB’s high-profile spokesman Inayat Bunglawala has broken with the organisation to say he will attend in his personal capacity.

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"We could smell the bodies being burnt"

January 14, 2010

Brian Bishop, now 89 and living near Chard in Somerset, was captured by the Germans in North Africa in 1942. He later spent 15 months in the British prisoner of war camp at Auschwitz. This is his story.

I was captured in North Africa. We were surrounded by the Germans and we fought until we had no ammunition left and then we had to give ourselves up.

We were handed over to the Italians and I spent the next year and three months in Italy. When Italy capitulated we were captured by the Germans. I was taken to Germany and eventually ended up on the train to Auschwitz.

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Revealed: the British troops imprisoned at Auschwitz

By Simon Round, January 14, 2010

Amid all the testimonies about Auschwitz and the Final Solution which have been published since the end of the Second World War, one small group has remained silent.

Alongside the main Auschwitz complex was a prisoner-of-war camp known as Auschwitz E715, where the inmates included several hundred British soldiers.

They have not talked about their experience until now, partly because they were traumatised by what happened to them in the camp, partly because they thought that no-one would be interested, but mainly because few people were aware of their existence.

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Auschwitz plea for UK donation

By Jessica Elgot, January 13, 2010

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation has called on Gordon Brown to fulfill his promise to donate some of the £110m needed to save the former concentration camp from decay and ruin.

The camp has been built on marshland between two rivers and damp is seeping into the barracks, which are rotting and splintering.

Restoration experts have warned that the camp has less than two years before some parts are beyond repair.

In early December, the infamous ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign was stolen by vandals, highlighting the vulnerability of the site.

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