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'Educate people' says Holocaust survivor Harry Bibring

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 January 2016

Harry Bibring will be speaking at the Old Town Hall to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

Harry Bibring will be speaking at the Old Town Hall to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

Andrew Baker

On Holocaust Memorial Day we remember the millions who perished in death camps across Europe.

The 90-year-old Jewish Austrian who escaped persecution by the Nazis as a teenager after coming to the UK, spoke out ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day today.

Harry Bibring will be recounting his experiences in front of an audience at Stratford Town Hall this morning.

“This year’s scheme is called Don’t Stand By and that is why I am doing it [the event],” Mr Bibring said.

“During the 20th century we have had one thing after another from Cambodia to Bosnia. We have to educate people.

“If people differentiate themselves from one another it can only lead to prejudice and hatred which can result in genocide.”

Mr Bibring escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna with his sister Gerty in March 1939 on a Kindertransport train bound for Britain.

His parents acted after his father’s clothing business was destroyed during Kristallnacht – a co-ordinated series of attacks on Jews throughout the German Reich by Nazis over the course of one night in November 
1938.

Mr Bibring initially moved to London but was later evacuated to the country when war broke out. He later returned to London working as a shop boy in his sponsor’s clothes shop before qualifying as an engineer.

His father later died of a heart attack and his mother died after being sent to Sobibor concentration camp.

Mr Bibring said although his later years – in which he married, had a child, two grandchildren and a great-grandchild – have been “happy”, his life has been touched by his experiences.

“I was affected to the extent that I had to bring myself up with my sister’s guidance. It was the blind leading the blind. I had no youth,” he said.

2016 marks 71 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on 27th January 1945. The theme for this year’s Holocaust Education Trust Don’t Stand By is to encourage people to speak out when they witness persecution happening.

Mr Bibring will be speaking at Old Town Hall from 9.30am to 12.30pm. He will be joined by Newham school children who will be undertaking a variety of performances.

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