Vigil today to honour Ilford’s ‘reluctant Holocaust hero’ Leon Greenman

A VIGIL is being held today (Sunday) at 11am to mark what would have been the 100th birthday of Holocaust survivor Leon Greenman.

Mr Greenman, who lived in Ingleby Road, Ilford, and died aged 97 in March 2008, �survived Auschwitz.

He is thought to be the only Englishman who was sent to the camp, where his Dutch wife, Else, and �toddler son, Barney, were murdered.

Mr Greenman, who travelled from Rotterdam to London as a bookseller, survived six �concentration camps and a �60-mile “death march”. He devoted his life after the war to writing and speaking out against �racism and intolerance, and was targeted by neo-Nazi thugs.

Last year a memorial was erected as a tribute to Mr Greenman in the Holocaust Memorial Garden, Valentines Park, Ilford, following an appeal by the Recorder.

Mr Greenman’s friend Ruth-Anne Lenga said a small �gathering and vigil at the �memorial at 11am on Sunday (January 30) was an appropriate way to pay tribute to a modest man who was a reluctant hero.

She added: “He was a huge force for good. He started �talking to schools in 1946. He lived a very simple life in Ilford. He was known by the local �community and many people still remember him.

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“He was 5ft but in every other way he was a very big man.”

A vigil for Mr Greenman was planned for December but was postponed because of snow.

All are welcome to attend the brief commemoration during which 100 candles will be lit in Leon’s memory. Use the Melbourne Road car park at the park.