Survivors to share stories at Holocaust Memorial Day in Newham

Ann and Bob Kirk BME

Ann and Bob Kirk will share their stories as part of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27. - Credit: Holocaust Education Trust

Survivors of Nazi persecution are to share their stories at this year's Holocaust Memorial Day.

Ann and Bob Kirk will share their testimonies on Wednesday, January 27 when Newham remembers the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust and in genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Ann was born Hannah Kuhn in Berlin, Germany, in 1928. When the Nazis seized power she was living with her parents in Cologne.

The family felt it no longer safe to stay after the pogrom against Jews - known as Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass - in November, 1938.

Ann's parents registered her for the Kindertransport. The British government initiative allowed 10,000 unaccompanied children to enter the UK. In April, 1939, aged 10, she arrived in England.


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Bob was born Rudolf Kirchheimer in Hannover in 1925, the youngest of three children.

His early childhood was comfortable, but this changed when the Nazis came to power. He remembers boycotts, book burnings and a sense of unease in the Jewish community.

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After Kristallnacht, Bob’s parents applied for his place on the Kindertransport.

He left Hannover on May 3, 1939 aged 13 and travelled to England via Holland. He was taken to Liverpool Street Station where he was collected by his sponsor, a Mr Smith.

After only a week Bob was moved to live with a family in Greenford where he stayed for eight weeks before moving to a hostel in Kent with 200 other children.

Neither Bob nor Ann's parents survived the war. The couple married on May 21, 1950 and both  remain involved in the synagogue whose congregation helped Ann.

Yisrael Abelesz and Avital Menahme

Yisrael Abelesz with his granddaughter Avital Menahem who will be speaking at Newham's Holocaust Memorial Day online event. - Credit: Leivi Saltman Photography

Also to speak is Avital Menahem, whose grandfather Yisrael Abelesz lost his parents and younger brother at Auschwitz.

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day this year is Be the light in the darkness. The free online gathering is from 9.30am until 11am. Tickets are available on a first come first served basis. To register visit  Eventbrite tickets.

People are also invited to light a candle in a window on January 27 and share their pictures on social media using #HMD.

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