Re­mem­ber­ing the Holo­caust

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY JOSH JACK­MAN

JOAN SAL­TER’S mes­sage to young peo­ple is that “even in the most ter­ri­ble times, there were still in­di­vid­u­als will­ing to stand up and say it [the Shoah] was wrong. When your life is in dan­ger, it’s hard to be the first one to stand up. We must not un­der­es­ti­mate the courage that’s needed.”

Lon­don-based Mrs Sal­ter was speak­ing be­fore re­count­ing her fam­ily’s wartime ex­pe­ri­ences to Wed­nes­day’s na­tional Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day cer­e­mony at Guild­hall in cen­tral Lon­don.

Her fam­ily’s jour­ney be­gan when she was three months old. It took them through Bel­gium, France, Spain and Por­tu­gal, from where she was taken to the US with­outher par­ents and adopted.

Al­though re­united with her par­ents af­ter the war, “it wasn’t a fairy­tale end­ing. They were com­pletely trau­ma­tised and my mother and I didn’t even share a com­mon lan­guage. I had for­got­ten my French.” All seven of her mother’s sib­lings died i n the Shoah, along with

al l Mrs Sa l t e r ’ s cousins. “Look­ing back, it’s im­pos­si­ble to be­lieve what hap­pened — it’s like look­ing through a cracked mir­ror.”

Among the 550 guests were party lead­ers Jeremy Cor­byn and Tim Far­ron and ac­tors Dame Kristin Scott Thomas, Fred­die Fox, Sheila Hancock, Kevin Whately and Robert Lind­say, who hosted the cer­e­mony, The event was or­gan­ised by the Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day Trust, whose chief ex­ec­u­tive Olivia Marks-Woldman re­ported that the 6,300 com­mem­o­ra­tions tak­ing place across the coun­try rep­re­sented a mas­sive in­crease on last year’s to­tal.

The HMDT also re­vealed that 700 more sur­vivors have had their tes­ti­monies recorded over the past year.

“Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day makes a dif­fer­ence,” Ms Marks-Woldman told the cer­e­mony. Peo­ple are still talk­ing to their chil­dren about what they learned last Jan­uary.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis ob­served that “if only there would have been tens of thou­sands of peo­ple who stood up to their com­man­ders to say: ‘We refuse to obey your com­mands to mur­der peo­ple be­cause they be­long to a par­tic­u­lar faith’, mil­lions of lives could have been saved.

“Mil­lions of Jewish souls per­ished in a sea of si­lence. Let us de­clare: ‘Never again’. No ifs, no buts.”

Com­mu­ni­ties Sec­re­tary Greg Clark said: “Geno­cide is made not just by the choices of those who per­pe­trate it, but by those who let it hap­pen.

“On be­half of the govern­ment, we com­mit never to look away, to chal­lenge ha­tred when­ever and wher­ever we see it.”

PHO­TOS: GE­OFF CAD­DICK

Jeremy Cor­byn and Tim Far­ron among the crowd and ( in­set) Joan Sal­ter

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