A Holocaust survivor spoke about his experiences during the closing ceremony of the Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue’s Holocaust Memorial Day event.
Professor Peter Lantos shared them to dignitaries from local churches, the police and around 100 students from St Helen’s School in Northwood.
During the ceremony on Thursday, January 31, Peter spoke with honesty and wry humour as he recalled the misery and extreme physical hardships endured as a child in Bergen Belsen concentration camp.
At five-year-old boy who has endured the constant hunger, freezing weather and the boredom of standing around to be counted for hours in the cold and wind.
Epidemics of typhus, tuberculosis, dysentery and typhoid broke out, which claimed the life of Peter’s older brother. While Peter’s mother survived the war, he lost his father to starvation in the camp.
But, despite his unimaginable experiences, Peter said: “I don’t think I carry a psychological burden. I was a child and, as an adult, didn’t allow any hatred to grow. But I don’t blame those who did.”
Peter was also joined by Nick Hurd MP and chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day trust, Laura Marks who highlighted the dangers of antisemitism in the present day.
She said: “The words of Peter Lantos remind us, hauntingly, of what happened in a period of history when normality was suspended, and civilisation was shaken to its core. People were slaughtered in their millions, not for what they did but purely for who they were. And genocide didn’t end in 1945, far from it.”
Referring to the findings of an independent survey that revealed an astonishing 64 per cent of British adults either didn’t know or grossly underestimate the number of Jews murdered.
She said: “This level of ignorance leaves a vacuum, which can so easily suck in the mistruths of the deniers.
“Jews are not the only minority group facing discrimination and hatred in our post-Brexit, uneasy world – far from it. On Holocaust Memorial Day we can and must learn from genocide for a better future for us all.”