Boris Johnson was moved by the “appalling” experiences recounted by a survivor to the City Hall ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday.
Hungarian-born Susan Pollack had told an audience of 200 that her family — once “well integrated” in the community — faced “hateful propaganda” and discriminatory laws. She was sent to Auschwitz and survived a death march to Bergen-Belsen before it was liberated by the British army.
“I couldn’t walk or move myself, I crawled out,” she recalled. “It was a sign that death was coming.”
Fifty family members were Holocaust victims and her brother was “used by the Nazis to shovel out the bodies from the gas chambers to the crematorium. He never recovered and was grossly affected psychologically until he died in 1995.”
Mrs Pollack — who came to the UK in 1963 — added that survivors were “reliving our history, but it would be far more difficult not to do it. We have been and are still witnesses of those dark horrific days.”
Thanking the speaker, Mr Johnson added: “What you’ve just said has touched every single one of us in our hearts and it’s vital that we keep that memory alive so that evil can never be repeated on this earth.”
Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks urged the young to continue the fight against antisemitism and discrimination.
“Let us never think it could not happen again,” he warned. “In some form or another it is happening again. We are witnessing it on our television screens.”