Holocaust survivors visit Ilford United Synagogue
PUBLISHED: 09:41 05 September 2016 | UPDATED: 11:11 05 September 2016
Before Auschwitz survivor Ivor Perl, 84, learned he had been nominated for a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Holocaust education, he was feeling deflated.
“There is so much going on in the world,” he said.
“I thought that I had had enough.”
Mr Perl was speaking at a tea held at Ilford United Synagogue, in Beehive Lane, Ilford, last week for survivors of the Holocaust.
The trip, organised by the Holocaust Survivors Centre, saw survivors visit Valentines Mansion, in Emerson Road, Ilford.
Mr Perl, of Buckhurst Hill, previously lived in Clayhall and was born in Hungary in 1932.
He survived Auschwitz with his brother after being taken there in 1944.
But both lost their parents and seven siblings in the Holocaust.
Speaking to the Recorder, Ivor said that he wanted to prove that the world could change for the better.
He said: “When I accepted my medal, I said a few words.
“I said that I didn’t think humanity had learnt anything from the tragedy at all.
“But when I learned I had been honoured, I knew that I had made a difference to someone.
“And that’s what I have always wanted to achieve.”
The trip, which was organised by the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre, offers a chance for fellow survivors to reminisce, share stories, and break bread together.
Helena Aronson, 89, said she had enjoyed the sunshine.
At the tea, Mrs Aronson said she would never stop spreading the message about the atrocities that occurred.
As a 12-year-old, she was taken from her home in Pabjanice, Poland and sent to work as a slave labourer in the Łódz ghetto.
Out of 220,000 people in the ghetto, only 750 people survived.
She said: “It was a very tough life.
“My father Motus Chmura volunteered to take the orphanages to the camp, where he was gassed.
“My mother, my brother and I survived against all odds.
“Now, I want to ensure that the atrocity is never forgotten or left behind.”
Synagogue chairman Malcolm Nathan, said he hoped the survivors would return next year.
He said: “It has been an absolute honour and our privilege to host this tea for these survivors.
“All survivors are heroes who have endured the worst nightmare imaginable – they will always hold a special place in our hearts.
“We hope that this will be an annual event and look forward to hosting in the future.”
Ann Sugarman, from the Jewish Care Holocaust Survivors’ Centre appealed for family members or friends of survivors to get in touch with the centre.
She said: “The Holocaust Survivors’ Centre is a therapeutic social centre which is part of Jewish Care. It offers a wides range of uplifting events and activities at the centre in Hendon.
“The centre has recently embarked on outreach initiatives to connect isolated survivors all around the country.
“A very successful programme has been running for the last year in the Ilford area thanks to a very dedicated volunteer and money donated in the local area and administered through the Six Point Foundation.
“This programme provides survivors to connect with others, access therapeutic services and participate in social and cultural trips.
“Should anyone know of anyone who they believe to be a survivor that needs help or is alone please contact us at the HSC on 0208 202 9844.”
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