Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) welcomes the recognition of several individuals in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2017 for their commitment to Holocaust education and commemoration. In the list, which was announced on 16 June, two survivors of the Holocaust, Sabina Miller and Iby Knill, have received British Empire Medals (BEM), and the former Chair of HMDT, Cathy Ashley, has received an OBE.
Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of HMDT said:
'These honours are a mark of the respect and admiration for survivors and educators held by those at the highest levels of British society. They remind us that people who dedicate so much time and effort to furthering education and commemoration about the Holocaust and genocide are respected, honoured and valued.'
Sabina was born in Warsaw, and lost her entire family in the Holocaust. She moved from Poland to England, rebuilt a home and a family and found a welcoming society. She has worked tirelessly with HMDT to share her experiences, through telling her story to groups and working with the media. She has dedicated her time to furthering understanding of the Holocaust.
Her daughter, Sandra Miller, said:
‘Sabina feels very privileged to receive this award. It means a great deal to her. She has always said that telling her story is a crucial way of encouraging tolerance and opening people's eyes to the perils of prejudice. Her family is hugely grateful to Britain for having welcomed Holocaust survivors and for granting them the chance of a normal life. When she came to Britain in 1947 she found a country willing to accept her for who she was, regardless of her religion. She hopes to continue to promote this message.’
Iby survived Auschwitz-Birkenau, slave labour and a death march to Bergen-Belsen before moving to the UK. She began telling her story publically when she was in her 80s, and today dedicates her time to sharing her story with thousands of people across the UK and abroad. She has written two books and has worked closely with HMDT to share her story widely.
‘We need to develop and teach the magic of differences, to listen and not be judgemental, yet speak out for the value of each human being. Hatred only hurts the person who does the hating - the other person does not know about it. That life is valuable and that we can mutually enrich our lives.
I am grateful I was fortunate enough to live through the trauma of the Holocaust and to be able to tell others that the horrors do not need to poison your life, but give you the ability and strength to value life and to teach young people that the future is in their hands and that they can and should enrich life for themselves and for future generations.
And that - finally - I appreciate the Honour and that, with or without it - I hope to continue speaking and writing as long as I am able to do so.’
Cathy was Chair of Trustees of Holocaust Memorial Day Trust from 2010 to 2016. During this time, Cathy oversaw a significant increase in the impact and reach of Holocaust Memorial Day. She ensured that HMDT addressed major strategic issues, and oversaw Holocaust Memorial Day becoming further embedded in British society.
‘This honour is dedicated to my father Len, who fled the Holocaust as a child and taught all his children to relish life, never take our liberty for granted and confront injustice wherever it occurs and to my sister-in-law, Ata, whose sister, two baby brothers and father died under the Khmer Rouge in the Genocide in Cambodia.
I'm extremely privileged to be involved in Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and its work in engaging people from all ages and communities in the UK to challenge Holocaust denial, to commemorate its victims, to highlight recent and on-going genocide including in Sudan and to prevent future crimes against humanity.’
- Read about Sabina Miller's story
- Watch a video of Sabina Miller meeting illustrator Kimberley Burrows for HMD 2015
- Watch a video documentary about Iby Knill's story
- Hear Iby Knill speak in a podcast about her experiences during the Holocaust
- Read Cathy Ashley's speech from 2016 about the theme from HMD 2016: Don't stand by
- Discover the theme for HMD 2017: The power of words through the life stories of survivors