|Article supplied by the Holocaust Educational Trust and their words entirely
for more about them see www.het.org.uk
Yesterday, the Holocaust Educational Trust led a delegation of over two hundred Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassadors, students, teachers and Trust supporters to take part in international commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. It was an incredibly moving day and a privilege to be there on what was probably the last significant anniversary of the liberation that we will mark with survivors and liberators still with us in any great number.
We attended a commemoration at the site of the Jewish memorial in Bergen-Belsen where we heard from the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, and the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. We also heard a moving recital of the Jewish memorial prayer led by the Shabbaton Choir in a ceremony also attended by the Duke of Gloucester. This was followed by a service led by the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women (AJEX) alongside Holocaust survivors, dignitaries and delegations from across the world. Approximately 70,000 Jewish people died at Bergen-Belsen from disease, starvation and mistreatment at the hands of the Nazis.
British liberator Bernard Levy talks to the Trust’s delegation at Bergen-Belsen
We were delighted to meet Bernard Levy who was one of the British liberators of the camp 70 years ago. What he discovered when he arrived at Belsen shocked and horrified him so much that he only felt able to speak about it 68 years later. It was incredibly powerful to hear from him and our group were fortunate enough to be able to ask him questions. He later met Holocaust survivors Eva Behar and Mala Tribich who expressed their gratitude for all that the liberating British soldiers had done to restore their freedom.
British liberator Bernard Levy meeting Holocaust survivor Eva Behar who was liberated from Bergen-Belsen.
Later, we attended a very moving commemoration at the Jewish cemetery at the British Bergen-Hohne Garrison. The Garrison was originally the site of a Displaced Persons Camp in operation until 1950. The Jewish cemetery is where thousands of people who could not be saved in the weeks following liberation were buried. After 70 years, the British will soon be leaving the site of Bergen-Hohne making this ceremony the last commemoration on this site to be led by the British Army.
After the service, participants wrote messages and laid witnessing stones, a Jewish tradition, on a plaque dedicated to the memory of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen on 15th April 1945.
Witnessing stones laid at the Jewish Cemetery at the British Bergen-Hohne Garrison.
It was a very moving and emotional day and one which we’re sure will stay with all of us for a very long time.
With best wishes,
Karen Pollock MBE
From the collection of poems by Nick Naydler, with paintings by Greg Tricker, entitled For Anne Frank, published by Loxwood Stoneleigh in Bristol in 1991.
‘I hope I shall be able to confide in you’
Into you shall I plunge
I the menagerie of girlhood;
unfurl the chorus of my life —
these secrets let me hurl
upon your white hearing;
I who am schoolgirl and quarry
clown and child, mirror and need.
‘Like a songbird in its cage’
Here do I take this pen
in this my cave of light,
this cage of heaven and hell,
in here unreel my life.I know
what is inside this jail;
this chapel my song is dawnlight;
I must sing.
Poems copywright Nick Naydler
It is inspiring to hear about this new initiative to help us all participate in keeping the memory alive. Please participate — in one minute of witness and solidarity!
The Anne Frank Trust UK has joined forces with Penguin Random House, the UK publishers of Anne Frank’s diary, to mark the 70th anniversary of Anne’s death with a one minute campaign called #notsilent.
Instead of a one minute silence to commemorate the end of Anne Frank’s short life, the British public are invited to record a video of themselves reading a one minute passage from Anne’s inspirational writing, at any time on or after Tuesday 14th April and then to upload to social media channels using hashtag #notsilent.
Celebrities including Eddie Izzard, Naomie Harris, Simon Callow, Roger McGough, David Miliband, Jacqueline Wilson, children’s laureate Malorie Blackman, Michael Buerk, Arlene Phillips, Ray Quinn and actors Russell Tovey, Ceallach Spellman and Jing Lusi have already recorded or filmed their own reading in Anne’s memory.
According to Gillian Walnes, Co-founder and Vice President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, “Poignantly we will never know the exact date Anne died, but we have carefully chosen the date of 14th April as schools will be in session and it’s one day before the anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen where Anne died at age 15 of hunger and disease. We have a selection of passages suitable for a one minute reading on our website or readers can choose one themselves, or even read something they have written about their own life and hopes.
Through the #notsilent campaign Anne’s voice will resonate loudly around the country and we will stand together against the challenges of prejudice, discrimination and injustices that are still experienced today”.
A #notsilent launch event will be held at the British Library, on Euston Road in London at 9.30 am on Tuesday the 14th April where public readings will take place by Jing Lusi, Arlene Phillips, Friday Download presenter Ceallach Spellman and teenage Anne Frank Ambassadors.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED http://www.annefrank.org.uk/notsilent
STEP ONE: Select an extract suitable for a one minute reading. This can either be an extract from Anne’s diary, you can download our selection here, or you can choose your own writing. While you read, either alone, in a group, in your classroom, home, work place or public place, we ask you to film yourself and upload it onto a video sharing platform of your choice (Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr etc) ensuring the video is available to view publicly.
STEP TWO: Send us the link to your video, by posting it on to the Anne Frank Trust’s Facebook (Anne Frank Trust UK) or Twitter (@annefranktrust) pages, using the hash tag #notsilent. Alternatively, you can e-mail your video via we transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEP THREE: We also ask you to share your one minute clip throughout your social media to encourage others to join in.
Thank you for participating and honouring Anne Frank’s memory in this way. We will together be #notsilent.
An extraordinary event will take place on April 14-15 2015 here in the tranquil and peaceful settings of Somerset. A forced walk will take place to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp in Germany. The walk from Frome in Somerset to Bath has been meticulously designed to mirror the route that Esther Brunstein was forced to march from Hambuhren-Ovelgonne to Bergen Belsen, Germany.
Esther Brunstein survived the death march and the horrors of life in the concentration camps. After liberation, she came to England and gave birth to Lorna Brunstein, now an artist and creator of this memorial project along with Richard White, a walking digital artist.
It is hard to imagine the hardships and life changing traumatic experience that plagued those who experienced the holocaust first hand. Few survivors remain today, but the memories and lessons of one of humanity’s greatest failures must be remembered, lest we forget and history ever repeats itself.
“The line of a Nazi Death March to Belsen transposed to Somerset. A 2 day walk as close as possible to that line. Where the walk intersects the line, interventions. An intimate performative walk-in-witness exploring resonances from the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belsen.
The Bergen Belsen death camp (previously a German prisoner of war camp before being coverted into a concentration camp to exterminate minorities) saw mass killings of Jews and other targeted minorities by the NAZI regime. For many, execution was a relief from the murderous breakouts of typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, dysentery and starvation. Amongst those who died at Belsen was Anne Frank. She met her death just two weeks before British and Canadian soldiers liberated the camp. Find out more about Belsen here.
Bristol Holocaust Memorial Day is proud to support the Forced Walk honouring Esther. For more information about Bristol HMD, please click here.