Teenager debuts documentary retelling the story of late Holocaust survivor from Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 January 2018 | UPDATED: 07:14 16 January 2018

Two Holocaust survivors and friends, the late Leon Greenman (left) and Issy Hahn (right). Photo: Paul Bennett

Two Holocaust survivors and friends, the late Leon Greenman (left) and Issy Hahn (right). Photo: Paul Bennett


The story of a late Redbridge Holocaust survivor is being retold in a documentary by an aspiring teenage filmmaker.

Filmmaker Joshua Rocker tells his school pupils about Leon Greeman on a school trip to Auschwitz. Photo: Joshua Rocker Filmmaker Joshua Rocker tells his school pupils about Leon Greeman on a school trip to Auschwitz. Photo: Joshua Rocker

History student and filmmaker Joshua Rocker’s debut documentary ‘Leon Greenman - Survivor’ premiers at the Jewish Museum on Sunday (January 21).

The film recounts the life of Leon Greenman - thought to be only English survivor of Auschwitz - who died aged 97 in March 2008.

“When Leon was in Birkenhau he made a promise to tell the outside world what happened,” said the 19-year-old.

“This film shows how he kept that promise and didn’t just keep it but made it his life.”

The film focusses on Leon’s life after the war, in particular is activism in opposition of the far right British National Party.

Leon, who lived in Ingleby Road, Ilford, began giving talks about his experiences in concentration camps in 1946, just one year after the end of the Second World War.

His Dutch wife, Else, and ­toddler son, Barney, were murdered in Auschwitz.

Describing one moment in the documentary, Joshua said: “He witnessed a far right protest in Trafalgar Square and saw a banner saying ‘Free Britain from Jewish control.’”

“And he recognised the same ideology that killed his family.”

The film includes interiews with Leon’s friend Ruth-Anne Lenga and former Ilford Recorder editor Chris Carter, among others.

In 2010, a memorial was erected as a tribute to Leon in the Holocaust Memorial Garden, Valentines Park, Ilford, following an appeal by the Recorder.

Joshua came to know Leon after attending one of his weekly talks at the Jewish Museum aged 7.

“I found it so fascinating that I decided to go back most Sundays until he died,” he said.

“I promised him I would continue to tell his story.”

The screening takes place on Sunday at 3pm.

Tickets are free and can be booked here:

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