A Holocaust survivor who celebrated her 90th birthday last week was applauded by MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions today.
Proceedings in the House of Commons were momentarily halted as politicians paid a hearty tribute to Kitty Hart-Moxon, who was watching from the public gallery.
Mrs Hart-Moxon later said: "I was amazed and didn't know what to do, so I stood up. I felt very honoured."
The Auschwitz survivor was introduced by Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, which has a large Jewish contingency.
Mr Blackman addressed the House, saying: “In 1943 a 16-year-old girl was forcibly taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau where she witnessed the horrors of the death camps.”
Mrs Hart-Moxon was born in Bielsko, close to the Polish-German-Czech frontiers, in 1926. She and her mother were the only two members of their family to survive the war.
Her father was murdered, her brother killed in action at Stalingrad, and 30 members of her family perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau, according to the website of the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET).
Mr Blackman continued: “Upon liberation she came to this country with her mother where she raised a family and became a nurse. She dedicated her life to making sure that the people of this country and beyond know the horrors of the Holocaust.
“Last week that lady turned 90 and Kitty Hart-Moxon is with us today at Prime Minister’s Question Time.”
At this point, a chorus of MPs cried “hear, hear” before clapping Mrs Hart-Moxon, who has spent years writing and speaking publicly about the her experiences.
She waved back to the assembled gathering from the public gallery.
Both sides of the Commons stand to applaud Holocaust survivor, Kitty Hart-Moxon, who was in the public gallery for her 90th birthday. pic.twitter.com/42Y6GFR3x0— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) December 7, 2016
Mr Blackman said: “Will my right honourable friend join with me and the whole house in wishing Kitty a very happy and belated birthday and thanking her for a lifetime of dedication to raising this important issue and also pay tribute to the Holocaust Educational Trust who do everything possible so that we all remember and witness the horrors of the worst part of the 20th century.”
With the Prime Minister on a trade mission to Bahrain, it fell to David Lidington MP, the leader of the House of Commons, to stand in for her.
The Tory MP for Aylesbury said: “I’d like to join him [Mr Blackman] in marking the achievements of Kitty Hart-Moxon and the Holocaust Educational Trust.”
He added: “I can never forget the impact of discovering as a schoolboy that two of the boys in my class had fathers who had survived Auschwitz.
“It is only a couple of generations ago that Europe was plunged into this unspeakable horror and it is important that not just the educational trust, but all of us play our part to ensure that the memory of the Holocaust lives on and that the wider lessons of that dark period in our history are learned.
“I think I would be grateful to all members right across the house and all political parties for their support in working together to ensure this vital work continues.”
Karen Pollock, HET chief executive, said: “Kitty Hart-Moxon is an inspirational woman who, having somehow survived the hell that was Auschwitz, has dedicated her life to sharing her worst moments in order to create a better future.
"We are proud she is our trustee and friend, and we wish her a very happy belated 90th birthday.”