Recipients of New Year’s Honours for their services to Holocaust education and awareness were congratulated yesterday at a tea at Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre in Hendon. Together with their relatives, members, volunteers and staff at the Centre, those honoured who could attend, were joined by Matthew Offord MP for Hendon.
Membership of the Order of the British Empire were awarded to Reverend Bernd Koschland MBE, Hannah Lewis MBE, Andrew Kaufman MBE, Joan Salter MBE and Martin Stern MBE. Medalists of the Order of the British Empire, BEM’s were given to Harry Bibring, Leslie Kleinman, Dr Chaim (Harry) Olmer, Josef Perl, Harry Spiro, Janine Webber, Freda Wineman.
Leslie Kleinman BEM, was 14 when he and his family were deported from the ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, on the second death march to Dachau he was later liberated by American soldiers. He discovered he was the only member of his family who survived.
At the tea, Leslie said, “I’m very emotional about receiving the honours. The Germans gave me a number 8230 on my arm and Rabbis have told me that if you add up the number it has the same value as the word for ‘love’ in Hebrew. I want young people to understand it’s important not to hate, that’s my message for young people when I talk to them.”
Freda Wineman BEM, member of the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre, said, “I am honoured and it’s good for the work over many years in Holocaust education to be recognised. But now it’s important that we continue to try to do this as there aren’t so many survivors left now. We should never forget, we should remember that 6 million innocent Jewish people perished in the Holocaust.”
Matthew Offord, MP, said, “When I come to speak to members at the Centre and hear their experiences it brings to life the scale of what happened during the Shoah. It helps us to remember with sadness the numbers who were killed and also to celebrate those who survived and who we honour now as they continue to tell their stories so that we can learn from the past.”
Reverend Bernrd Koschland MBE, who was born near Nuremberg, Germany came over on Kindertransport in 1939 and his older sister followed him to the UK a few months later. He went on to become a teacher at JFS and City of London School for Girls until 1995. After the tea, he said, “I feel honoured, it was not expected at all and it seems I have achieved something over the last few years, speaking widely about the Holocaust and in particular Kindertransport on which I came. I feel it’s important to talk to young people and their teachers too about the Holocaust so they can understand what happened.”
Janine Webber BEM, who survived the ghetto, went into hiding and took on false identities to survive in occupied Poland whilst the majority of her family were killed during the Holocaust. Janine said, “I feel honoured and I’m happy that Holocaust education is recognised as something that’s important.
“If I didn’t tell my story, nobody would know what happened in Lvov as there are very few survivors from where I come from. My message is it’s important to be tolerant, not to persecute those who are different and to remember what happened in the Holocaust.”
Andrew Kaufman MBE, chair of the Association of Jewish Refugees, who studied law at Oxford, has dedicated himself tirelessly to the work of the AJR, also attended the tea as did Hannah Lewis MBE, who survived a labour camp in Poland and arrived in Britain in 1949. Hannah has given talks at schools and universities for many years.
Holocaust Survivor Centre Manager, Aviva Trup, said, “I’d like to congratulate our members who have received New Year’s Honours from The Queen. These honours recognise the commitment shown by each of the survivors who have dedicated themselves to giving their testimonies time and time again to ensure that the next generation hears what happened in the Holocaust so they can learn from it to ensure that it will never be forgotten or happen again. The Holocaust Survivors’ Centre is a place where all of our members can feel secure and welcome by others who understand what they have experienced.”
Prior to the tea, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Olivia Marks-Woldman, spoke about Holocaust Memorial Day, answering questions from Centre members and thanking them for the major contribution they make in remembering the Holocaust and the atrocities that took place.