Ten Holocaust survivors who have worked tirelessly to support Holocaust commemoration and education have been recognised in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list. Lily Ebert, Chaim Ferster, Agnes Grunwald-Spier, Jack Kagan, Freddie Knoller, Rudi Oppenheimer, Ivor Perl, Susan Pollack, Renee Salt and Zigi Shipper are all honoured.
Four survivors were nominated for awards by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust:
Susan Pollack was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau as a teenager. She survived but her parents and dozens of relatives were murdered. Susan has recounted her story in schools and at events for nearly 30 years. She testified at the trial of the ‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’ Oskar Groening in the summer of 2015, and is a member of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Legacy Group of survivors.
‘I have been honoured as an Auschwitz survivor and somebody who has told my story for many years, but I have also been honoured as part of a dedicated team of people who work to strengthen our resolve for a fairer, safer future, and to learn lessons from the Holocaust and more recent genocides.’
Ivor Perl was just 12 years old when he was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. His parents and nine of his siblings were murdered – only Ivor and his older brother survived. Ivor shared his story for the Holocaust Memorial Day 2015 Memory Makers project, and testified at the trial of the ‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’ Oskar Groening in the summer of 2015.
‘It’s 70 years since I was first admitted to this country, from the camps, without a family, as a 13 year old boy. Little did I imagine that I would receive such an honour. I’ve received much good news in my life but this must top it all.’
Agnes Grunwald-Spier was born in Budapest in 1944, and narrowly avoided being sent to Auschwitz as a baby. Agnes has published two books about the history of the Holocaust, and served as a trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
‘Naturally I am absolutely thrilled. Lots of people do what I have done but don’t get acknowledged. The award also acknowledges the importance of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and the work it does.
Like Susan and Ivor, Lily Ebert was deported from Hungary to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944. Lily has told her story in several films for the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. Lily is honoured along with Susan, Ivor and Agnes.
Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust said:
'We are delighted that Her Majesty The Queen is honouring so many survivors of the Holocaust for the work they do to support Holocaust Memorial Day, Holocaust education, and Holocaust commemoration. For many survivors The Queen has embodied the welcome and opportunities they found here in Britain, where they came to rebuild their lives. These awards recognise the individual contributions that they have made; but they also recognise the contributions that all survivors make to the UK, and honour the memory of the millions of people who did not survive the Holocaust.'