Sur­vivors cre­at­ing pieces of his­tory

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - HMD DAVID LASSER­SON

AT THE end of the Se­cond World War, the Bri­tish Govern­ment of­fered to bring more than 1,000 or­phaned child sur­vivors of the Nazi con­cen­tra­tion camps to the UK. How­ever, af­ter weeks of ef­fort by of­fi­cials, only 732 sur­vivors were found, and — al­though 80 of them were girls — they be­came known col­lec­tively as ‘‘The Boys’’.

The chil­dren were flown from East­ern Europe to the UK and even­tu­ally set­tled in spe­cial hos­tels through­out the coun­try.

In the UK, they re­built their lives as part of this group, and many even­tu­ally set­tled here, while oth- ers moved to North Amer­ica, Aus­tralia and Is­rael.

To mark the 70th an­niver­sary of their lib­er­a­tion last year, those same ‘‘Boys’’, their chil­dren and their fam­i­lies, be­gan a unique com­mem­o­ra­tion — to cre­ate “Mem­ory Quilts” that would, through words and im­ages, en­cap­su­late their sto­ries. Each square serves as a re­minder not only of lost fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties, but of strength and sur­vival as each of them found a new life in Bri­tain.

The pro­ject has re­sulted in four sep­a­rate quilts made up of 156 squares. The Mem­ory Quilts them­selves are cur­rently on dis­play at the Jewish Mu­seum in a free ex­hi­bi­tion, along­side sto­ries of the lives they rep­re­sent.

The ex­hi­bi­tion is be­ing staged in part­ner­ship with the ’45 Aid So­ci­ety and Se­cond Gen­er­a­tion. Es­tab­lished in 1963, the ’45 Aid So­ci­ety con­sists mainly of sur­vivors of con­cen­tra­tion camps who Mem­o­ries: the Jewish Mu­seum is cur­rently show­ing tapesty works by camp sur­vivors came to Bri­tain in 1945/46. The So­ci­ety helps mem­bers and char­i­ties and fa­cil­i­tates sur­vivors giv­ing tes­ti­mony of their ex­pe­ri­ences to schools, coun­cils and com­mu­nity groups.

The Se­cond Gen­er­a­tion are the chil­dren and grand­chil­dren of The Boys. They guard the tes­ti­mony of the group, bear­ing vi­car­i­ous wit­ness to their life sto­ries and re­mem­ber the lives that were de­stroyed. The Se­cond Gen­er­a­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion was set up to keep th­ese sto­ries alive by way of com­mu­nity events, ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties and fundrais­ing.

The ’45 Aid So­ci­ety has cre­ated a Mem­ory Quilt Book, with 164 full-colour pages, pho­tos of all the quilt squares and sto­ries writ­ten by the sur­vivors and their fam­i­lies. For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact the Jewish Mu­seum on 0207 284 7384 and www.45aid.org

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