Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue has collected 200,000 buttons to commemorate children killed during the Holocaust.
On April 22, over 100 members of the community came together to contribute to the B Buttons Project.
As each bag was filled with 1000 buttons, it was called out and held aloft to be collected by the organisers of the event. There was even a score board keeping track as the bags were gathered to keep track how many thousands of buttons had been amassed.
Each button represents a child who perished in the Holocaust, with the idea to collect 1.5 million overall to demonstrate the scale of the atrocity.
The initiative was the idea of a year 10 Student at the Lakes school in Windermere, built on the Calgarth estate which was the original home of 300 children known simply as ‘the boys’ who were liberated from concentration camps at the end of the second world war and brought to the UK in 1945 to restart their lives.
Organisers Melvin Jacobs and Jenny Schwarzmann said: “We decided to include the button collection as part of Stanmore’s Yad B’Yad programme and we immediately set about asking the community to bring in their buttons.
“Slowly but surely the mound increased into a small mountain and with it came the stories of where the buttons came from and the memories they evoked.
“As we counted them, each actually took on a personality, whose life was taken far too early, and therefore made the whole experience far more poignant.”
To make the countathon even more meaningful, the organising committee invited one of ‘the boys’ to talk to the counters.
Harry Olmer shared his experiences of arriving at Lake Windermere and what it felt like adjusting to life in the UK and how he then travelled to Scotland for further rehabilitation.
Also in attendance were a Magic Moments delegation from Israel, who came to the count with their host families from the Stanmore community, and local Member of Parliament, Bob Blackman MP.
Picture courtesy of Stanmore Synagogue