Time is running out for living testimonies

YOM Hashoah was held on Monday at the Etz Chaim Synagogue on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

The six million and more victims of Nazi atrocity were honoured in a ceremony that offered a message of continuity and hope that the Holocaust will never be forgotten by future generations, while respecting the bravery and heroism shown by survivors.

Stories of survival, hope and courage were shared with a capacity crowd.

The commemoration was graced by survivors Iby Knill, 93, and 90-year-old Berta Klipstein.

From the sombre darkness, beams of light flickered throughout the ceremony from six candles, representing the six million Jews who perished, and lit by Tim Hare, vice deputy Lord Lieutenant, Dr Terry Bramall, High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, Cllr Judith Blake, Leeds City Council leader, Berta Klipstein, Leeds Jewish Representative Council president Laurence Saffer and Rachel Taylor Gould, who all read commitments.

Leeds shaliach Or Nehushtan said that time is running out for the living testimonies.

"We must never forget, we must bear witness and we must educate others about our history, about our values, about a religion that seeks peace and respect," he said. "We must love our fellow men as we would love ourselves.

"We must remember to lead by the example of human love and to show consideration for others, and never to be indifferent to other people's suffering; to stand up, to speak the truth and to fight, if needs be, in order to not only prevent other tragedies from happening, but to promote a better life for all human beings."

He added that if the victims of the Holocaust showed such bravery in the face of extinction, "surely we can do the same in the face of complacency, freedom and relative comfort.

"Let us always remember what happened so that we should know the reason of our future benevolent actions."

Also speaking were Deborah Tebart and Janet Stowe who recalled her childhood experiences of antisemitism, of being ridiculed at school for being Jewish and the sometimes misguided way she fought back.

Survivor Iby Knill vowed that she would live to tell her story of Auschwitz to the world in spite of keeping the fact secret for many years, even from her own children, that she had survived the Nazi death camp.

Alby Chait led the United Hebrew Congregation's choir in a rendition of El Ma'ale Rachamim and Rabbi Anthony Gilbert, of Etz Chaim Synagogue, recited kaddish.

A video, made by Simon Harris and members of The Zone, was shown.

Yom Hazikaron, the memorial day for Israel's fallen soldiers and victims of terror, will be held on Sunday (7.30pm).

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