This month we have been privileged to be able to invite survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides to visit Buckingham Palace as guests at the Queen’s Royal Garden Parties.
In attendance were Holocaust survivors: Lily Ebert, Agnes Grunwald-Spier, Kitty Hart-Moxon OBE, Iby Knill, Eve Kugler, Sabina Miller, Ivor Perl, and Martin Stern, who were joined by family and friends.
They were accompanied by Bob and Ann Kirk, who came to England from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport. Earlier this year Ann spoke about her experiences at our parliamentary reception to launch the theme for HMD 2014 – Journeys. HMDT Honorary president and Olympian Ben Helfgott MBE also attended, along with Sophie, a survivor of the Genocide in Rwanda, and Kemal Pervanic, a survivor of the Omarksa Concentration Camp during the Bosnian War.
All survivors were invited because of the time they have devoted to speaking about their experiences to raise awareness of the horrors of the Holocaust and the subsequent genocides. We wanted to thank them for their involvement in and support of Holocaust Memorial Day.
Sabina Miller, who spoke at our Parliamentary reception last year, said of the experience,
I loved it and I want to say a very big thank you to everyone at the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for being invited. It was a wonderful honour. The beautiful gardens and the tea, cakes and sandwiches - it was an unbelievably beautiful and memorable experience.
Holocaust survivor, Sabina Miller, outside Buckingham Palace
Sophie, who told her story at the UK Commemorative Event for HMD 2013 said,
It was such a lovely day and wonderful experience, everyone was dressed in beautiful colours, wearing hats and inside the palace I felt such a warm atmosphere. When Her Majesty and the royal family joined us, we were all facing them with smiles in our faces, they walked among people shaking their hands. We had chance to walk around the palace, it is a lovely place. It was such an honour to attend.
Survivor of the genocide in Rwanda, Sophie, outside Buckingham Palace
Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of HMDT said,
All the survivors who attended have worked tirelessly recounting their life stories. They have ensured that hundreds of thousands of people have a better understanding of the events of the Holocaust and of subsequent genocides. We were delighted to be able to offer them the opportunity to attend Buckingham Palace in recognition of their work, courtesy of our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen.
You can read about the life stories of Holocaust and genocide survivors in the Life Stories section of the HMDT website.
The theme for HMD 2014 is Journeys – you can read the theme paper to learn more.
Photograph: from left Laura Stewart, Holocaust survivor Sabina Miller, Harreld Masereka, survivor of the genocide in Rwanda Sophie Musabe Masereka, Olivia Marks-Woldman; Holocaust survivor Kitty Hart-Moxon; Peter Hart and Kemal Pervanic, survivor of the war in Bosnia