Stories of suffering and hope at northern event


Award-winning author Thomas Harding, whose uncle - German refugee Hanns Alexander - was instrumental in bringing Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss to justice, was a keynote speaker at Manchester's Yom Hashoah commemoration.

A crowd of nearly 900 at the AJ Bell Stadium also heard from survivor Icek Alterman, who gave a moving account of the challenges in building a new life in Manchester after the war. Survivor's son Robbie Gontarz spoke of the suffering endured by his father Sam, who sat beside him on the stage.

And Lauren Clyne relayed the story of her grandmother Ruth Edwards, who was sent alone to Manchester from her native Vienna at the age of 12 to stay with relatives she had never met. She later learnt that her parents had been shot by the Nazis. Now 89, Mrs Edwards still has the little bag of toys she travelled across Europe with.

"Last year was a milestone event since it marked the 70th anniversary of liberation," said Yom HaShoah chair Jackie Field. "Twelve months later, our aim was to look a year on from the perspective of the survivors and those whose families were caught up in the horrors of the Shoah."

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