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Holocaust survivor Alec Ward dies aged 91

Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said Mr Ward 'dedicated his life' to telling his story

    Alec Ward, pictured in 2009 (Photo: UHnewmediapublishing, YouTube)
    Alec Ward, pictured in 2009 (Photo: UHnewmediapublishing, YouTube)

    Alec Ward, a Holocaust survivor who moved to Britain after enduring five different Nazi camps, has died at the age of 91.

    Born in Lublin, in Poland, in 1927, Mr Ward and his family were moved to the Magnuszew ghetto when German troops occupied his home town in 1940.

    After being moved to the Kozenice ghetto, he fled with his nine-year-old brother, Laib. The two spent three months in hiding in a forest, before returning to the ghetto. Shortly afterwards Laib was shot and killed in front of Mr Ward.

    He then survived three slave labour camps and two concentration camps, before he was liberated by United States forces from the Mauthausen camp in May 1945.

    His family’s only survivor, he settled in England after the war, and was one of "the Boys" - a cohort of 300 young men who were sent to Britain to recuperate. Mr Ward spent the period immediately after his liberation in Southampton.

    Mr Ward worked as a tailor, and later a quality controller for the Windsmoor fashion company. He married Hettie Cohen in 1953, with whom he had two children, Lyla and Mark.

    Maurice Helfgott, the son of Ben Helfgott, another member of "the Boys", paid tribute to Mr Ward, describing him as a "much-loved figure among survivors and the Boys".

    He said: "I have known him all my life. He was a man of great serenity and tolerance, and was someone we all liked and admired very much.

    "I think Alec believed it was important to tell the story of the Holocaust, and to remember those who were lost. We celebrate his life."

    Liron Velleman, Mr Ward's grandson, said that his family has been contacted since Mr Ward's death by thousands of people who knew him.

    Mr Velleman told the JC: "Grandpa is my hero and my inspiration. The family are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and wishes which is a testament to the thousands of people, across all ages and faiths that he touched with his story and message which we encourage everyone to read to keep his memory alive."

    Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said Mr Ward had “dedicated his life toensuring the world remembered what happened during the Holocaust”.

    She added: “Alec Ward was a wonderful man. He had a warmth and kindness that shone through, even when talking about the darkest of times.

    “We are all deeply saddened to hear the news of his passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his family. It is our mission to ensure that Alec's story and legacy lives on for generations to come.”

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