Holocaust survivors speak at borough’s Memorial Day commemoration
Posted on February 1st, 2013

Press Release from Harrow Council- UK

Harrow Council marked the annual Holocaust Memorial Day with a special commemoration ceremony on Wednesday (30th January).

People gathered in the Council Chamber to remember those communities which were destroyed during the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. The event was one of an estimated 1,500 activities taking place across the UK where individuals and communities came together to remember the past and consider the part that they can play in challenging hatred and persecution today.

The theme of this year’s event was “Communities Together: Building Bridges” and included a special address by Holocaust survivors, Bob & Ann Kirk. The Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Nizam Ismail and Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the HMD Trust also took part in the ceremony.

The event included music and songs from children of the Moriah Jewish Day School who were joined by blues singer Cathy Edgar, to sing “ƒ”¹…”A Bridge of Voice’, specially commissioned by the HMD Trust, as well as contributions from Rabbi David Lister of Hatch End Kol Chai Synagogue. He said: “You cannot change the past, but you can change the future. This is what this event is about. It is so important to hear personal testimony while we still can, and learn from these lessons.”

Cllr David Perry, portfolio holder for community and cultural services, said:

“It’s very important that we join together to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day so that these events are never forgotten. We want to send the message that discrimination, racism and hatred have no place in our society, and that acts like this should never happen again”

Ann and Bob Kirk shared their incredible stories of escaping Nazi Germany. They both vividly remember “Kristallnacht”, also known as Night of the Broken Glass, a series of attacks against Jews throughout Germany and parts of Austria on 9th and 10th November 1938, carried out by the SA paramilitary and civilians. The attacks left the streets covered with broken glass from the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues. Fearing for her safety, Ann’s parents sent her to live with two “aunties” in London so she could be safe. Speaking at the event she said: “My mother looked at me like she couldn’t take her eyes off of me. Then a whistle went off “”…” a whistle to say goodbye. My parents told me to look out of the window at the next station but one. I didn’t know why but I did so anyway, and low and behold there were my parents, standing on the platform waving at me. That was the last time I ever saw them.”

Ann recalled finding out that her parents had been sent to a concentration camp. “I got a message from my father telling me that my mother had been “ƒ”¹…”transported’. I got one more message from my father after that, and then total silence. One of my additional nightmares is that they were both sent to Auschwitz separately. My mother got sent in 1942 and my father in 1943. I can only imagine that my father was out the first time the Gestapo called.

“My father told me “ƒ”¹…”be happy, live your life to the full, always tell the truth and do not grieve.’ I think that he may have had an inkling of what was in store for them.”

Incredibly, Ann and her Husband Bob did not speak of their experiences for over 40 years. “Our two sons knew that we had escaped Nazi Germany but they never pressed us for details. It was only after they grew up and had their own families, and my granddaughter reached the age of 10, the age I was when I escaped, that I realised what courageous parents I had, to send me away to safety. It was only then that we started talking about our experiences.”

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the HMD Trust, said: “Everybody is a member of some kind of community, with different tastes and ambitions. During the holocaust these differences were not celebrated, and instead they became targets instead. Holocaust Memorial Day is a day of respect when we can think about how those communities have been changed. It is an opportunity to come together and make connections with our neighbours.”

4 Responses to “Holocaust survivors speak at borough’s Memorial Day commemoration”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    This is the same horror that happened to SINHALESE in Jaffna in 1977.

    Nazis reduced Jews by 95% in Germany by Tamil Nazis went further. Tamil Nazis reduced Sinhalase in Jaffna district by 100%.

  2. Nanda Says:

    Tamil Islamic Nazis reduced Sinhalase in Colombo district to 22%.

  3. Insula Says:

    In addition, this is the same horror that happened to MUSLIMS in Jaffna in 1990

    Tamil Nazis, aka LTTE, went further. Tamil LTTE reduced Muslins in Jaffna district by 99.99%., and apparently gave 24 hrs to leave. No trains or buses provided I understand.

    The Indians Cheered.

  4. danielgury Says:

    First of all, great article. I would also like to suggest a movie about the Holocaust, Hitler’s Children Documentary Thank you

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