9. Heritage and Memory
RL: "This Sefer Torah was written specially for my father's Bar Mitzvah, which took place in 1903. The Sofer, or scribe, wrote the different parts of the Torah in his hometown of Bromberg, to the East of Inowrocław, and each time a parchment piece was ready, he would bring it across the border to my father's house, who would pay him out in gold coins, my father kept telling me over the years, and eventually all the pieces were ready and the Sofer sewed them all together and made a Torah out of it. My father read from the Torah at his Bar Mitzvah. We were fortunate enough to bring the Torah out with us when we emigrated, and I read from the Torah at my Bar Mitzvah in 1939 and our two boys read from this Torah at their Bar Mitzvahs. Anthony was born in 1959, so that was 1972, and Jonathan in 1975. And, as you can see, it's still in my possession."
ER: With Prince Charles when he invited the Kinder to come to Buckingham Palace, 2014
Sir Erich Reich
Many of the 70.000 refugees who found refuge in Britain and settled in many parts of the UK are no longer with us. However, there is still a group of Kindertransport refugees and child survivors who are very active in Holocaust education, as are some members of the second and third generation. The communal institutions which have been built by refugees, such as the Association of Jewish Refugees, Belsize Square Synagogue and the Wiener Library, are by now firmly established in British public life and retain a strong link with the German-Jewish past.
In recent years, the victims of Nazi persecutions, have confronted the traumas of the past and the losses they suffered in the Holocaust. They have written memoirs, taken part in programmes of interviews, appeared in documentaries dealing with the traumatic experiences of persecution, escape and new beginnings, and continue to speak to school children about their lives. Frank Meisler, who had come on a Kindertransport to the UK, created a series of memorials, one of them at Liverpool Street Station, erected in 2006.
Commemorating and recording the past has become a focus of many institutions. The Imperial War Museum London is launching a newly conceived Holocaust Exhibition in a few years, a new UK Holocaust Memorial (and Learning Centre) is in the process of being created (in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament).
The Association of Jewish Refugees today is proudly committed to the education of future generations about the Holocaust and is the UK’s largest dedicated provider of programmes and projects which promote teaching and learning about the Holocaust. The creation of the ‘Refugee Voices Testimony Archive’, the Blue Plaque scheme, and the ‘My Story’ project are part of the overall endeavour to create a lasting legacy for future generations.