Jewish Care is supporting their residents, tenants of Retirement Living apartments, members of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January. The organisation is also connecting survivors and older people at home with younger members of the community online.
With the help of volunteers, Jewish Care has packed and sent 750 parcels with memorial candles to older people in the community. Many will join the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust lighting at 8pm and Holocaust Survivors’ Centre members will light candles together after their Zoom Yiddish conversation group on the day.
One of those who will light is Harry Olmer BEM, member of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre. Harry says, “It’s important to remember the Holocaust, without memories there’s nothing left.”
Members of the Supportive Communities Tea Parties for Holocaust survivors will also light together on Zoom and in care homes, residents will be marking the day with an online ceremony and by lighting memorial candles with Rabbi Junik, Jewish Care’s spiritual and cultural advisor.
Holocaust survivor, Manfred Goldberg BEM who is a member of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivor’s Centre shared his inspirational story last week with over 100 people as part of a Young Jewish Care and March of the Living online event. Manfred was born in Germany in 1930. He spent time in the Riga Ghetto, a labour camp and Stutthof concentration camp. Manfred was sent on a death march in appalling conditions before finally being liberated at Neustadt in Germany on 3 May 1945.
Ivor Perl BEM was just 12 when he was taken to Auschwitz and moved to Dachau Concentration Camp before being liberated. He is a member of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre and a tenant at Jewish Care’s Selig Court Retirement Living apartments.
This week he reached out to Bar Mitzvah boy, Joseph Shaw to give him a blessing and words of encouragement on resilience, overcoming challenges and appreciating what we have in life, especially in light of the current pandemic. He said, “May you grow up to be proud and a credit to your Jewish heritage, the Jewish people and especially to your parents”.
13-year-old, Joseph, who belongs to Bushey United Synagogue and is a JFS student, will be twinning his Bar Mitzvah through Yad Vashem’s programme with Chaim Szwarc from Berezne, Poland who perished in the Shoah aged only five years old.
After speaking with Ivor online, Joseph said: “I am really honoured to receive a blessing from Ivor and spend time talking to him. It is important to make sure that our future generations never forget. I will try my hardest”.
In his Holocaust Memorial Day message to the community, Jewish Care Chief Executive, Daniel Carmel-Brown, says, “At this time of year we remember those who perished in the Holocaust and other genocides and we encourage everyone to light a candle in remembrance.
“Life has been hard for us in the last year and yet when we set this in the context of the last century, we know the greatest tragedy to befall the world and the Jewish community was the Holocaust. Jewish Care’s work with Holocaust survivors is vital for so many and I’m grateful to our colleagues and volunteers for all they have done and continue to do, to support survivors through the pandemic. Many of whom are now participating in a huge array of online programme and activities. That we honour their bravery and their legacy at this time is so important.
“What we learn from survivors is the light that is so important because it is the light that brings us hope. We have seen so much kindness shown to us and other, volunteers who have come forward to support the community. We only have to look at the solidarity shown by so many to see that there is not room for racism anywhere and I know how important that is to our diverse workforce. As we mark Holocaust Memorial Day, at Jewish Care we remember that caring for others is the job of the Jewish community. We know as much as anyone that indifference is dangerous and together, we will ensure that never again, means never again.”