Recipients of New Year Honours for services to Holocaust education and awareness were congratulated at a tea at Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre in Hendon also attended by relatives and local MP Matthew Offord.
Among those present was Leslie Kleinman (awarded a British Empire Medal), who was 14 when he and his family were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. After liberation by American soldiers, he discovered he was the only member of his family to survive.
“I’m very emotional about receiving the honour,” he said at the tea. “The Germans gave me a number, 8230, on my arm and rabbis have told me that if you add up the figures it has the same value as the word for ‘love’ in Hebrew. I want young people to understand it’s important not to hate. That’s my message when I talk to them.”
Also a BEM, Freda Wineman said it was good that efforts to promote Holocaust education had been recognised. “It’s important that we continue to try to do this as there aren’t so many survivors left.”
Mr Offord said that hearing survivors’ experiences “helps us to remember with sadness the numbers who were killed and also to celebrate those who survived, who we honour now as they continue to tell their stories”.
Adding her congratulations, centre manager Aviva Trup said the honours “recognise the commitment shown by each of the survivors, who have dedicated themselves to giving their testimonies time and time again.
“The Holocaust Survivors’ Centre is a place where members can feel secure and welcome by others who understand what they have experienced.”