Shoah watch is given to HET

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community - BY ROBYNROSEN

THE POIGNANT his­tory of a watch hid­den by Holo­caust sur­vivors at Ber­gen Belsen and later given to a lib­er­at­ing sol­dier has been re­vealed dur­ing a cer­e­mony at the Houses of Par­lia­ment.

Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tional Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Karen Pol­lock re­ceived the watch (pic­tured) in the pres­ence of Com­mons Speaker John Ber­cow and Tory MP Dr Ju­lian Lewis. It had been do­nated by El­iz­a­beth Barnes, 79, of Hythe, Hamp­shire, whose late fa­ther Ron­ald Cowles had bought it from the sol­dier over 60 years ago.

The ser­vice­man had been asked by sur­viv­ing in­mates to help them dig up jew­ellery which they had buried to hide from the Nazis. In grat­i­tude, they gave him a watch and a ring. On re­turn­ing to Eng­land, he gave his mother the ring and sold the watch to Mr Cowles, a me­chan­ics teacher, ex­plain­ing how it had come into his pos­ses­sion.

Ill-health pre­vented Mrs Barnes from at­tend­ing the West­min­ster cer­e­mony. But she said af­ter­wards that her fa­ther had given her the watch on con­di­tion that it should be used to prove that the Shoah hap­pened. “He was afraid that peo­ple would try to change his­tory. It was full of dirt so I had it cleaned and kept it in my jew­ellery box and looked at it reg­u­larly.”

It was the idea of Dr Lewis, her lo­cal MP, that she do­nate it to HET. “I’m de­lighted HET has it now,” she added. “Youngsters need to be told about what hap­pened and this watch tells that story.”

Ms Pol­lock said: “We will hon­our Mrs Barnes’ re­quest that it be used to ed­u­cate fu­ture gen­er­a­tions about the Holo­caust and against those who try to deny it.”

John Ber­cow (left), Karen Pol­lock and Dr Ju­lian Lewis at the han­dover

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