East End commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day

The horrors of the Holocaust are being remembered and tribute paid to the millions of people who were killed at a series of free events marking Holocaust Memorial Day.

This year’s theme is Untold Stories.

The Jewish East End Celebration Society has teamed up with the Bengali heritage group the Swadhinata Trust for a commemoration event at the Nelson Street Synagogue from 2.30pm to 4.30pm on Sunday (January 30).

The event will include a performance of forgotten Yiddish songs by Hilda Bronstein, who is a leading songstress of Jewish Klezmer songs.

The audience will also hear from Hungarian-born Vera Forster who survived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz and will share some of her experiences during those terrible days.


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She has just published a memoir about her life, called A Daughter of Her Century.

History group Firemen Remembered will tell the tale of the East End Auxiliary Fire Service during wartime and the Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust will describe what happened at the 1943 Bethnal Green tube disaster and the fund-raising plans to build a memorial to the 173 people who died there.

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There will also be reflections from representatives of the Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum about Untold Stories.

Barry Davis will perform the Partisan’s Song and a special Kaddish or memorial prayer.

The event is free and there is no need to book.

Tower Hamlets is also hosting other events, with a series of remarkable portraits by Andrew Sutton of the survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide when 850,000 people were murdered.

The photos are on display at the Idea Store at Gladstone Place, Roman Road, at Bow and at Churchill Place in Canary Wharf until Sunday January 30.

Arts venue Rich Mix in Bethnal Green Road is also screening short films based on the theme of Untold Stories on Thursday January 27, featuring Drew Sutton’s The Survivors of the Rwandan Genocide: An Untold Story, a documentary about Kazimierz Piechowski, who was imprisoned in Auschwitz in 1940 for being a Boy Scout and resisting Nazi occupation.

Yoav Segal’s No Pasaran is about anti-fascist campaigning in East London and the 1936 Battle of Cable Street and the International Brigade.

The screening of his film will be followed by a Question and Answer session which will feature his 93-year-old grandfather Ubby Cowan, who fought at Cable Street and Shirely Murgraff whose brother Sam Russell fought with the International Brigade.

Tickets are free for the screening with doors opening at 6pm for a 6.30pm start but booking is required on 020 7613 7498.

And for those who want to see the site of the anti-fascist battle in the East End for themselves walking guide Clive Bettington will lead a tour which starts at the entrance to Aldgate tube station at 2.30pm on Sunday January 30.

The walk will cover the Battle of Cable Street and the Hughes Mansions disaster in Vallance Road 1945 when 134 people died after a V2 bomb destroyed the building.

The event finishes at the Nelson Street synagogue in time for the commemoration event.

Places should be reserved on 07941 367882 or clivebettington@lineone.net

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