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Seventy-five years after he first came to London, Hertfordshire hosted Holocaust survivor Sir Eric Reich to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2014.
The Hertfordshire Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) annual commemoration is organised in association with Herts for Learning and Hertfordshire County Council. This year the event took place at Edwinstree Middle School, Buntingford on Thursday 30th January.
The theme of Journeys guided the event as children from several Hertfordshire schools gathered in drama, music, dance and spoken word performances before listening to tales of Sir Eric’s life.
Sir Eric is one of the youngest of those saved from the Holocaust by Kindertransport, an operation bringing over ten thousand Jewish children to the UK. Five students used theatre to bring to life the famous Liverpool Street Station Kindertransport statue ‘The Arrival’, which features Sir Eric as a small refugee.
Beginning an estranged life at the age of four, Sir Eric does not remember his parents, who died in the Holocaust.
He said of his experience,
I was born twice. Once when I was born and once when my parents let me go”.
Since escaping the Nazi regime, Sir Eric has spent his life giving back. Now in its twenty-first year, his company Classic Tours has worked with 50,000 people to raise over £80 million for charity.
Holocaust Memorial Day encourages students to learn about the holocaust and other contemporary genocides, contemplating the nature of prejudice and intolerance. Two Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassadors spoke about their trip to Auschwitz, and how it impelled them to come and share their newfound knowledge with their peers.
Students have put their research about the children of the past into a time capsule, to be opened by students of the future. This includes their hopes and wishes which have been written on paper luggage tags.
On watching their creative efforts, Sir Eric left students with positive response to take away.
There’s always somewhere you can help. There’s always a light somewhere”, he said.