Feb 7 2013 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
ESCAPEES from Nazi Germany relived the horror of the Holocaust at a memorial evening promoting the end of hatred and racism.
Ann and Bob Kirk recounted their stories at the event at Harrow Civic Centre on Wednesday last week, which had the theme Communities Together: Building Bridges.
Pupils from Moriah Jewish Day School in Pinner sang A Bridge of Voice, a song commissioned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMD Trust), with blues singer Cathy Edgar.
Rabbi David Lister, of Hatch End Kol Chai Synagogue, told guests: “You cannot change the past, but you can change the future.
“This is what this event is about. It is so important to hear personal testimony while we still can, and learn from these lessons.”
Ann Kirk remembered Kristallnacht, a series of coordinated attacks against Jews on November 9 and 10, 1938, and how she was sent to live with two aunties in London by her parents for safety’s sake.
She said: “My father told me: ‘Be happy, live your life to the full, always tell the truth and do not grieve.’ I think that he may have had an inkling of what was in store for them.”
Her parents were sent separately to concentration camps and that was the last she heard of them.
Neither Mrs Kirk nor her husband Bob discussed their experiences for 40 years.
She said: “Our two sons knew that we had escaped Nazi Germany but they never pressed us for details.
“It was only after they grew up and had their own families and my granddaughter reached the age of 10 – the age I was when I escaped – that I realised what courageous parents I had, to send me away to safety. It was only then that we started talking about our experiences.”
Genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur were also remembered at last week’s evening event in the presence of the Mayor of Harrow, councillor Nizam Ismail, and Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of the HMD Trust.
Councillor David Perry, Harrow Council’s portfolio holder for community and cultural services, said: “We want to send the message that discrimination, racism and hatred have no place in our society, and that acts like this should never happen again.”