Holocaust Memorial Day: Survivor Ruth Barnett compares her experience to migrant crisis

Ruth Barnett at the service

Ruth Barnett at the service - Credit: Archant

Heads were bowed and prayers were said as multi-faith leaders and councillors from opposing parties stood united at the borough’s Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony held this morning in Valentines Park.

Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin of Chabad Lubavitch Centre, Woodford Avenue, Gants Hill, spoke passionately about how lessons of the past had “still not been learned” as atrocities were still occurring.

He was joined by Ruth Barnett who was rescued from the Nazis aged four on the Kindertransport – German for children’s transport – rescue effort.

Ruth compared her experience to children caught up in the migrant crisis.

“The Middle East has failed to protect them,” she said. “Make them feel welcome.”

The Mayor of Redbridge also spoke movingly to the community as she led the tributes at the ceremony.

Joined by Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of the council, Paul Canal (Con, Bridge) and multi-faith leaders, all stood united.

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Focusing on this year’s theme Don’t Stand By, mayor Cllr Barbara White spoke directly to the borough’s schoolchildren.

“School years are very important,” she said.

“Don’t just think of yourself and agree for popularity. Stand up for what is right and don’t just stand by.”

Genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur were also remembered by Rabbi Sufrin, the Rev Canon Marie Segal of St Andrews Church, The Drive, Ilford, and Rabbi Israel Hyman of Ilford Synagogue, Beehive Lane, Gants Hill.

See tomorrow’s Recorder for interviews with Ruth Barnett and Jef Page, whose father was sent to Siberia by the Nazis