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Local Newspaper Week: Reflecting upon the Recorder’s Holocaust memorial campaign with Issy Hahn

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 May 2017

The late Holocaust survivor Issy Hahn, who made a new life for himself in Redbridge following the end of the Second World War. Picture: Paul Bennett

The late Holocaust survivor Issy Hahn, who made a new life for himself in Redbridge following the end of the Second World War. Picture: Paul Bennett

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Over the decades, the Recorder has strived to not only be the voice of its readers, but also fight actively for change through campaigning, whether that be protesting against the planned closure of King George Hospital’s A&E (Hands Off Our Hospital), or giving a lifeline to charities in need of funds.

Issy at the memorial in Valentines Park, which resulted from an appeal led by himself and the Recorder. Picture: Paul Bennett Issy at the memorial in Valentines Park, which resulted from an appeal led by himself and the Recorder. Picture: Paul Bennett

One achievement the paper is particularly proud of is the Holocaust memorial which now sits in Valentines Park.

Holocaust survivor Issy Hahn, who died in 2014 aged 85, was one of Redbridge’s most prominent community figures.

As a child, he experienced the horrors of Auschwitz with his brother Karol, and although they survived, their father Simon, mother Helena, brother Zigmund and sister Marie all died, having been deported to the Treblinka extermination camp.

The Polish brothers moved to London, with Issy settling in Redbridge from the 1960s, and Issy made it his life’s work to ensure the community and the wider world did not forget.

Following the death of another Redbridge survivor, Leon Greenman, Issy and the Recorder joined forces to campaign for a memorial, with the paper running a successful reader appeal in 2009 to raise £3,800. Issy designed an emblem for the stone, which includes a tribute to Leon, and all British survivors of the camps.

Following his death, Issy’s son David said: “He was always trying to educate people irrespective of their race or creed.

“I remember him once being asked by a little black girl if the Nazis treated black people differently to Jewish people and he replied: ‘A human being is a human being, irrespective of race or creed – if you cut someone whoever they are, they bleed’.”

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