The Holocaust

Blue Peter’s Joel Defries’ HMD journey

By Jay Grenby, January 29, 2009

A desire to fulfil his late grandfather’s dearest wish took Blue Peter presenter Joel Defries on an emotional journey for the programme broadcast for HMD on Tuesday.

Mr Defries’ ancestors came to the UK from Holland, Poland and Lithuania — the earliest in the 18th century. He was born in London, but spent some of his early years in New Zealand, joining grandparents who had emigrated there. His grandfather had always hoped that Mr Defries, a non-practising Jew, would get to know more about his Jewish background.

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A nation remembers and educates

January 29, 2009

Northwood’s four-day HMD programme — the largest of its type in the UK — launched on Monday with the first group from the anticipated 2,000 secondary school pupils and teachers from Harrow, Hillingdon and Hertsmere.

Organised jointly by the Northwood United and Liberal shuls, the scheme is in its eighth year. Many civic leaders were at the opening, where survivor Ziggy Shipper preached against hatred.

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Police are out in force for HMD events

By Jay Grenby and Hannah Leader, January 29, 2009

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears told a gathering of senior policemen and community leaders at Western Marble Arch Synagogue of her delight at the wide range of age and backgrounds of those involved in HMD activities.

Organised in conjunction with the Association of Police Authorities, the get-together was the latest arranged by the APA to raise awareness of diversity. Around 90 senior officers took part in a day-long seminar, followed by dinner and a programme of prayer, poetry and song to mark HMD.

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Shoah story reaches 90,000

By Cathy Forman, January 29, 2009

Belsen survivor Rudi Oppenheimer told London Mayor Boris Johnson and other civic leaders at the HMD ceremony at City Hall: “Soon there will be no one left to tell the story.”

Mr Oppenheimer estimated that he had related his experiences to 90,000 young people in 950 sessions at schools. “I am the witness,” he said.

The mayor declared that as no words of his could be as powerful as those of a survior, he had chosen to read If, a “shocking and frightening poem” by playwright Edward Bond which pondered the outcome “if Auschwitz had been in Hampshire”.

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Brown meets survivors

January 22, 2009

Gordon Brown welcomed Holocaust survivors Ben Helfgott and his sister Mala Tribich to 10 Downing Street on Wednesday when he signed a book of commitment, pledging to remember the Holocaust and to fight all forms of discrimination.

The book was placed in the House of Commons by the Holocaust Educational Trust in advance of Holocaust Memorial Day and has been signed by over 100 MPs.

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Survivors denounce hoax Holocaust book

December 31, 2008

Holocaust survivors have expressed outrage over a book by a former Buchenwald inmate about love and life in the camp which turned out to be more fiction than fact.

One survivor, Ben Helfgott, who spent years in camps with the author, Herman Rosenblat, said the book, Angel At The Fence, provided ammunition to Holocaust deniers.

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Scottish U-turn over Holocaust trips for pupils

By Leon Symons, November 27, 2008

Months of lobbying by the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) paid off this week when the Scottish government decided it will, after all, pay for students to visit Auschwitz.

Scottish education secretary Fiona Hyslop announced on Wednesday that £214,000 will be set aside to send two pupils from every Scottish secondary school.

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the HET said: "We are delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised the value of the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz' project and we look forward to working with them to involve more Scottish pupils in our work."

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MP opens Shoah exhibit

By Marcus Dysch, November 27, 2008

A travelling exhibition from the world's oldest Holocaust research centre has been launched at the Houses of Parliament.

"Never Again? Thinking about the Holocaust" was created with items from the Wiener Library.

Monday's event was hosted by Justice Minister Shahid Malik, who said he had been moved by a visit to the Wiener's West End premises.

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Slave labour campaigner dies

November 20, 2008

Rudy Kennedy, a successful campaigner for slave labour compensation from the German government for Nazi treatment of Jewish prisoners, died last week. He was 78.

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More than 200 pupils from North East Schools visit Auschwitz to learn of Holocaust atrocities

November 13, 2008

More than 200 pupils from North East Schools visited Auschwitz to learn about the atrocities committed during the Second World War. Leaders on the trip included Henry Ross, a past president of Newcastle United Hebrew Congregation; and Councillor Jackie Slesenger, chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Group. The trip was organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust.

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