Image 1

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 2022: Hear from Holocaust survivor in online talk

Categoriesnews Communitynews

Image captionImage 1: Pictured is Ernest Simon who arrived in England in 1939 after escaping Vienna on the Kindertransport train

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is marking Holocaust Memorial Day with a free online talk from survivor Ernest Simon.

Ernest – who lives in London and is 91 years old – arrived in England in 1939 after escaping Vienna on the Kindertransport train. The talk takes place via Zoom from 11.30am to 1.30pm on Thursday 27 January, and all are welcome to join.

Image 2
Image caption: Image 2: Group of girls leaving the Kindertransport train

After an introduction by Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader of H&F Council, Ernest will speak for approximately 45 minutes, then take questions.

“Ernest Simon’s past is heart-breaking – but it is also an important story of perseverance and strength," said Cllr Fennimore. "We are grateful that he has chosen to share his story with us this Holocaust Memorial Day.”

Ernest’s story

Ernest escaped the Nazis and fled from Vienna as a child after witnessing Kristallnacht. Known as “the night of broken glass”, the event saw Nazis throughout Germany and Austria, burn, vandalise, loot synagogues and Jewish-owned business.

He left Vienna via the Kindertransport, a rescue scheme that evacuated almost 10,000 children from Nazi-held territories. Ernest travelled through Austria, Germany and the Netherlands to the Hoek of Holland where he was then put on a ship to Harwich, England.

Ernest’s younger brother remained in Austria with his parents. However, they were later able to travel to the UK on domestic permits. During their separation, Ernest lived with a Jewish family in Leeds and, at the outbreak of the Second World War, he was sent to Lincolnshire to live with a foster family.

Ernest was eventually reunited with his parents – but it was not until 1942 that they were able to live in the same home as a family again.

Image 3
Image caption: Image 3: Lord Alf Dubs

Lord Alf Dubs

Hammersmith resident Lord Alf Dubs, Member of the House of Lords and Director of the Refugee Council, will also be sharing his experience of escaping Nazi rule via the Kindertransport.

Lord Dubs arrived in Britain in 1939 as a six-year-old refugee after fleeing from Czechoslovakia. His experiences as a child fuelled his life-long work to support and welcome refugees into the UK, and he continues to advocate for unaccompanied child refugees today.

Memorial Day

If you’re unable to join the talk live, it will later be made available on the H&F Council website.

At 8pm the same day, local residents are urged to join the nation in lighting a candle and displaying it in a window to remember those who were murdered for who they were, and to take a stand against prejudice today.

Image 4
Image caption: Image 4: Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland

Pictures of your candle can be uploaded on social media using the hashtags #HolocaustMemorialDay #LightTheDarkness #LBHF

Zoom details

Topic: International Holocaust Memorial Day with H&F
Date and time: Thursday 27 January at 11.30am (London)

Join Zoom meeting

Meeting ID: 515 253 3640
Passcode: 781741
Dial by your location: +44 208 080 6591 United Kingdom

Image 5
Image caption: Image 5: Kindertransport girls passing through customs

Want to read more news stories like this? Subscribe to our weekly e-news bulletin.