Ber­cow: ‘You have ex­pe­ri­enced the worst but re­tained your hu­man­ity’

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

COM­MONS SPEAKER John Ber­cow wel­comed more than 100 sur­vivors of the Shoah and other geno­cides to his of­fi­cial res­i­dence on Wed­nes­day for a re­cep­tion or­gan­ised by the Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day Trust.

“You have ex­pe­ri­enced the worst atroc­i­ties known to mankind, yet have re­tained your own hu­man­ity and re­built your lives in Bri­tain, con­tribut­ing so much to our so­ci­ety,” Mr Ber­cow told them.

“Many sur­vivors work tire­lessly and speak about their ter­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ences, in or­der that ev­ery­one in the UK has the op­por­tu­nity to learn lessons from his­tory.

“It is a plea­sure to wel­come th­ese sur­vivors to Par­lia­ment and thank them for the work they do to ad­vance Holo­caust education and com­mem­o­ra­tion.”

Com­mu­ni­ties Min­is­ter Baroness Wil­liams added that the 2016 HMD theme of Don’t Stand By “is all the more poignant be­cause so many of you are here to­day be­cause some­one did not stand by.

“Some­one s t o o d u p against ha­tred and you sur­vived when so many per­ished. But we must never for­get. We owe it to the mil­lions of men and women who didn’t get to reach their full po­ten­tial.”

Guests also in­cluded for­mer Com­mu­ni­ties Sec­re­tary Sir Eric Pick­les, who said that what he found most poignant was “the way peo­ple who went through that ex­pe­ri­ence came to Eng­land, set up a life and made a con­tri­bu­tion to so­ci­ety. When you look around the room to­day, th­ese peo­ple have re­ally achieved some­thing.”

He­len Aron­son, 89, said that fel­low sur­vivors had be­come “like fam­ily. It means quite a lot to me to see ev­ery­one be­cause most peo­ple here meet at the same places. We have so much in com­mon and we’ve been through so much to­gether. Th­ese events are nice and they are sad. It is dif­fi­cult be­cause we have to re­live our life. But af­ter I’ve done it I feel like I have built a big house.”

An­other sur­vivor, Mala Tribich, pointed out: “We all need some hope for the fu­ture and I hope the work of the HMDT will go on for years to come be­cause they are fan­tas­tic.”

It is a plea­sure tothank them­forthe work­theydo

John Ber­cow ad­dresses the sur­vivors

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