90 messages for 90 years: Happy birthday Sir Ben Helfgott!

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90 messages for 90 years: Happy birthday Sir Ben Helfgott!

Five prime ministers, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sadiq Khan, Stephen Fry and Rachel Riley among figures to wish the communal icon and Shoah survivor many happy returns!

“Many congratulations and happy birthday. Thank you for all you’ve done to promote understanding of our great religion.” From journalist and TV presenter Dame Esther Rantzen

“Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek – Strength! Strength! And we’re all strengthened! Happy 90th to our hero who embodies bravery, courage and resilience, which strengthens us all.” From Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner

“Growing up my family always referred to you with reverence. I’ve since seen the impact of your efforts up close. Your leadership and wise words have inspired me. Having worked with your son Maurice, I see hard work, leadership, a commitment to justice and personal nobility are family traits! I wish you continued strength, good health and happiness. Thank you for showing us how to make every day count. Biz hundert un tsvantsik!” From Danny Stone MBE, chief executive of the Antisemitism Policy Trust 

“You’re an inspiration to us all. The stories of your life will forever live on. You’ve defied age through strength of character. Mark Twain once said, ‘Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.’ May you only know joy, peace and health for a life well lived with the best yet to come. Best wishes to you and your family on this famous day.” From Paul Charney, chairman of the Zionist Federation

“Wishing you a wonderful and very happy 90th birthday.” From Dame Stephanie Shirley, philanthropist and Kindertransportee

“Everyone at AJR joins me in sending you our warmest wishes on your special birthday. May you continue to have the strength to be the leading figure in the remembrance of the Holocaust.” From Michael Newman, chief executive of the Association of Jewish Refugees

“Happy birthday, Sir Ben. You are a true inspiration to me and many others within the Jewish community and beyond. Have a really wonderful day. Very best wishes.” From mental health campaigner and educator Jonny Benjamin MBE

“I have huge admiration for your courage and warmth of heart. Mazel Tov.” From Senior Masorti Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

“Sir Ben, you are living testimony of the eternal survival of the Jewish people against all the odds. You have been an inspiration and a symbol of hope. Bis hundert und zwanzig.” From Baroness Ruth Deech, bioethicist and Holocaust restitution campaigner

“Sir Ben, your decades of determination that the world should remember and learn the lessons of the Shoah is true heroism. But your courage is only part of a wealth of shining virtues, the brightest of which is your delight in humanity and your enduring belief in the power of humankind to do good. Your life is an example to me and all of us of the true meaning of triumph and simchah. Happy 90th.” From barrister and TV personality Robert Rinder, aka ITV’s ‘Judge Rinder’

Robert Rinder was overwhelmed to meet Sir Ben Helfgott at Schlieben, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, where his grandfather was a forced labourer during the Second World War

“Mazel Tov on your 90th birthday and no stopping yet (Pirke Avot 5:21). You remain an inspiration and the members of Liberal Judaism salute you.” From Senior Liberal Rabbi Danny Rich

“Happy Birthday Ben. You have been an inspiration. Carry on amazing us until 120!” From Vivian Wineman, President of the Institute for Polish Jewish Studies and former President of the Board of Deputies

“You are an inspiration and an example, and I value our friendship immensely. Looking forward to continuing our cooperation!” From Dr François Guesnet, Reader in Modern Jewish History at the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London

Olivia Marks-Woldman with Laura Marks (left), Lord Pickles (right) and Sir Ben!

“Everyone at HMDT wishes you a very happy 90th. You were instrumental in establishing Holocaust Memorial Day and continue your commitment, challenging us to do more. Your efforts behind the scenes are an inspiration. At a recent St James’s Palace event I offered you my arm up a long flight of stairs, only for you to decline and race up them! I should have known better! Here’s to many more years of strength, determination and wisdom.” From Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive, Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

“Happy birthday Sir Ben, you are a true inspiration. Have a great day.” From TV and radio scriptwriter Ivor Baddiel

“Ben!! You’re a true Mensch. You found light in the darkness and always built on your Pabianice roots. Carry on being an inspiration to future generations and ensuring the world is a better place. Gezunterheit until 120!” From Rabbi Avroham Pinter, trustee and director of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations and spokesman for the Stamford Hill Orthodox community

“Your importance to the community and to Holocaust remembrance is tremendous. Your drive and integrity laid the path we all follow. My strongest image of you is you resplendent in your Olympics Panama hat, medal winner and proud UK representative. By your actions and personality you symbolise the best of Britain.” From Lord Eric Pickles, UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues

Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott with co-chair of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, Lord Eric Pickles

“Mazal tov on your very special birthday! Elaine and I consider it one of the great privileges of our lives to count you as a friend. You have been one of the heroes of our community, someone who came eyeball to eyeball with the angel of death and yet became an angel of life. May your strength and story continue to inspire us all for many more years to come.” From former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

“It has been a rare privilege to know and work with you and I wish you the very best of health and happiness on this important milestone. May you continue to be an inspiration to me and the many others you touch with your incredible energy, positive outlook and commitment to remembering the past so that it informs our future. With heartfelt thanks for all the good you do.” From Maurice Ostro OBE, philanthropist and vice-chair of the Council of Christians and Jews

“Ben, happy birthday! Thank you for leading the way. With much love and respect.” From philanthropists Sir Trevor and Lady Daniela Pears

“Sir Ben, we send you every good wish for this very special day, your 90th birthday. As you have no doubt gathered a lifetime of memories during your first 90 years, we all look forward to wishing you a happy birthday on your next 90 years. With very best wishes.” From philanthropists David and Simon Reuben

“Happy birthday, Ben. You’re an inspiration to me. Once, at an HMD meeting, discussing the inclusion of other genocides, you said ‘remember to focus on the Holocaust since it ensures that we can also protect the lives of those not here and yet to come.’ Never a truer word said. It reflects an amazing man who has done so much for Holocaust education. Enjoy your big day.” From Fiyaz Mughal OBE, founder of anti-Muslim hate monitor Tell MAMA and director of Faith Matters

“Sir Ben, delighted to convey my very best wishes for your birthday and to share in celebrating the extraordinary contribution you have made to the Jewish community and UK society.” From Lord Jacob Rothschild

“On behalf of all the children at the school, Class 2S wish Sir Ben Helfgott a hearty mazel tov on his 90th birthday. Your story of survival, resilience and success is an inspiration. We know that young people and education are passions of yours so from Europe’s largest Jewish primary school, Yom Huledet Same’ach – happy birthday!” From Miss Nalkin and Class 2S at Sinai Jewish Primary School

“Sir Ben, you were not only an outstanding international and Olympic weightlifter over several years, you are one of the country’s most inspirational figures. We are delighted to send our very best wishes as you celebrate 90 incredible years.” From Angus Kinnear, chairman of British Weightlifting

Ben Helfgott competing as an Olympic weightlifter (copyright Ben Helfgott)

“Sir Ben, you enjoy the rare distinction of being a legend in your own lifetime. You richly deserve your accolades. You’re a man not just of physical strength but of soul, campaigning tirelessly for Holocaust education and deepening understanding between the Jewish people, Poland and Germany. I admire you so much for your decency and principles. To me you are quite simply a Jewish hero. May you live to 120.” From Jonathan Arkush, former president of the Board of Deputies

“I salute you on your 90th birthday not only as a survivor but as someone who has been determined that it will never happen again and who knows that that can only be achieved by speaking to younger generations about their own sad experience.” From Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC, former foreign secretary

“Many Happy Returns, Ben, we hope you have a wonderful birthday – you certainly deserve it. You are a real inspiration to us all.” From philanthropists Sir Harry and Lady Judy Solomon

“Happy Birthday and ad 120! On behalf of Jewish students in the UK I want to say how inspired we are by you and thank you for all your incredible work for the Jewish community. We wish you all the best, great health and a great year ahead.” From Esther Offenberg, president of the Union of Jewish Students

“Ben, you continue to be an inspiration to all the young people that we work with. What an amazing Gentleman, we still have much to learn from you. Everyone at UJIA wishes you a very happy and healthy 90th Birthday. Mazeltov.” From Louise Jacobs, chair of UJIA

“It’s incredible what you have achieved. You’re an absolute hero to me. Through your work with us over 30 years I’ve seen your incredible strength of character. I’m still astounded when I think what you endured and what you’ve achieved. Your drive and resolve are unparalleled, as is your determination, warmth and kindness. Wishing you the very best on this most special day.” From Karen Pollock MBE, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust

Holocaust Educational Trust CEO Karen Pollock with survivor, Olympian and educator Ben Helfgott

“Birthday wishes to our dear friend Ben, from the land of Wordsworth, Ruskin, and the Windermere Boys and Girls.” From Trevor, Rose and all at Lake District Holocaust Project

“Ben, you are one of the true heroes of British Jewry. If it were not for your tireless work, commemoration of the Shoah in the UK would never have happened. We must all follow your lead and keep the flame of memory alive. I wish you many happy and healthy years ahead. May your 90th just be staging post to the next landmark.” From Daily Mail City Editor Alex Brummer

“A very happy birthday to a man who epitomises the strength of the human spirit in overcoming prejudice and adversity.” From Lord David Pannick QC

“We wish the incredible Sir Ben a very Happy 90th Birthday. You became a champion weightlifter after the war but never allowed the weight of your tragic past affect your positive inspirational view of the future, enabling so many others to learn from you.” From Simon Bentley, chair of Yad Vashem UK Foundation

“Ben, wishing you a very happy 90th birthday and a year full of good health and happiness, so you can continue to be an inspiration to us all.” From Russell Conn, president of the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester 

“The Centre would like to wish Sir Ben, inspirational Holocaust survivor of Theresienstadt and Olympic weightlifter, a very happy 90th birthday. It is a privilege for us to be able to showcase Frances Segelman’s bust of Sir Ben in our collection.” From Henry Grunwald OBE QC, chair of the National Holocaust Centre UK

Henry Grunwald hosting the 2018 Yom Hashoa memorial event in Hyde Park. Credit: John Rifkin

“Sir Ben, you are a man whose qualities of courage, endurance and commitment to a noble cause have inspired a whole generation. Our country is indebted to you and I wish you well on your 90th birthday.” From Gordon Brown, former prime minister

“Few in their lifetime become icons. Sir Ben, you have gone way beyond that status, not just because of your remarkable life and his resilience, but also for your tireless dedication to promote Holocaust remembrance and education. Happy birthday.” From Martin Berliner, chief executive of Maccabi GB

“Happy Birthday, Sir Ben! On this wonderful occasion the Chaplaincy salutes your courage, inspirational activism and remarkable work educating the next generation for the benefit of the Jewish community and the whole of humanity. Mazal Tov!” From Rabbi Dr Harvey Belovski, Rabbinic Head of University Jewish Chaplaincy

“Ben, you are a special man and it has been my privilege to know you for a long time. You are a fighter, brave and intelligent, and an example to everyone.” From Gerald Ronson CBE, chair of the Community Security Trust

“On behalf of the staff, pupils, parents and governors, I send all good wishes to Sir Ben on his 90th birthday. Ben, you are an inspiration to thousands of people and we wish you many more years in good health to continue your incredible work.” From Anthony Wolfson, headteacher of Nancy Reuben Primary School

“My family and I wish you a hearty mazel tov on your 90th A most wonderful man and an inspiration to us all – we love you Ben!” From Victor (Kushy) Greenberg, one of the original ‘Boys’

“Dear Ben, wishing you Mazal Tov on another remarkable milestone in your extraordinary story. Please God may you continue in good health to inspire everyone you come into contact with, supported of course by Arza and the rest of your wonderful family. Happy birthday!” From Rabbi Nicky Liss, chair of the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue and Rabbi of Highgate Synagogue

“Wishing you very good wishes from all my family on your 90th. May you be well and healthy for many years, to continue to inspire our ‘45 Aid Society with your valued guidance since the 50s. Ad Mea V’Esrim.(120),” from Harry Olmer BEM, one of the original ‘Boys’

Group shot of survivors at The Boys annual reunion
Photo credit: John Rifkin

“Wishing Ben a wonderful 90th. Thanks very much for all the work you have always done keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive on behalf of the millions who did not survive.” From Jeanette and Zigi Shipper BEM, one of the original ‘Boys’

“We started off life so close together in Piotrkov Poland, born one day apart! We have kept close with our families in England and enjoyed many happy events together. Now we add to that our 90th birthdays. We look forward to many more happy times together. We are so proud of all your achievements Ben. Happy Birthday.” From Pauline and Harry Spiro BEM, one of the original ‘Boys’

“To a giant of a man who I am honoured to call my friend and who has become my mentor. It is a privilege to chair the society you founded and a joy working with you over many years. Happy birthday. With much love and thanks.” From Angela Cohen, chair of the ’45 Aid Society

“Happy Birthday Ben. You have reached a wonderful age with so much to show for it. Your achievements are legendary and your fruitful and active life has been an example to us all. I am so proud of you and everything you stand for. My family joins me in wishing you many happy, healthy and enjoyable years ahead surrounded by your beautiful family. With Love.” From Ben’s sister, Mala Tribich MBE

“For me, one of the best parts of being PM was the extraordinary people I got to meet, whose stories moved, inspired and amazed me. Ben, you were one of those people. It was not just your extraordinary tale of ingenuity and forbearance during the Holocaust that I found so incredible. It was what you chose to do with it, dedicating your life to ensuring future generations learn about and remember the darkest chapter of human history. I’ll never forget visiting Yad Vashem together, standing in the Hall of Names, where every victim, including members of your own family, are commemorated. And I was delighted when you agreed to join my Holocaust Commission, helping to ensure Britain has its own permanent and fitting memorial to all those who lost their lives. I know how hard you work, so I hope that on your birthday you rest, relax and reflect on your many achievements. They will endure long after all of us are gone.” From David Cameron, former prime minister

Sir Ben speaking with former PM David Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg

“You have shared your experiences so others may know what took place more than 75 years ago. Your testimony and that of other survivors will stand as evidence for those who deny the greatest crime in history. We are grateful to you, applaud you, and extend our heartfelt wishes to you on your 90th birthday.” From the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC

“We send our warmest best wishes to Sir Ben on his 90th birthday. Your extraordinary determination and achievements continue to inspire all who work to preserve the memory and teach the history of the Holocaust.” From Dr Toby Simpson, director of the Wiener Holocaust Library

“On your 90th birthday, I wish you good health, strength and determination in your service to Holocaust remembrance and education, and all the happiness that life can give you. You are an inspiring person, a true champion of Polish-British-Jewish relations, and a great promoter of the history of Jews in Poland. My family and I really value your friendship, and we in Poland are lucky to have you.” From HE Arkady Rzegocki, Polish Ambassador to the UK

“We’re proud of all our Olympians, but none more so than Sir Ben. His story is a true inspiration. To go to an Olympics is unimaginable for most, but to go from a concentration camp and the horrors of war to rebuilding your life in a new country is quite simply remarkable. His dedication to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust is so vitally important. We are all better off for hearing his story.” From Sir Hugh Robertson, chair of the British Olympic Association

“Dear Ben, I hope you have a happy, happy birthday. Nobody could have done more than you to turn disaster into triumph. You are the pearl in our oyster. Have a wonderful day, surrounded by all who love you best. With love and admiration.” From actress Maureen Lipman CBE

“Hi Sir Ben, I just wanted to wish you an incredibly happy 90th birthday. It was an honour to meet you in Parliament at the HET event in January – not necessarily a time for celebration, but now is most definitely a time for cakes, presents, loved ones and parties! I hope you’re having a fantastic time. Even though you’re not technically ‘one from the top’ in terms of Countdown numbers tiles, you’re one from the top for all of us.” From Countdown presenter Rachel Riley

WATCH Rachel’s message here:

“Happy birthday Ben, heroic and indomitable as you are. You have shown us how, in your life, good can triumph over evil and how your human spirit reaches out with generosity, showing us how to live.” From Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE

“I wish you a huge Mazel tov on your 90th, Ben. You are a true inspiration to all of us. Your positive attitude to life, strength and tenacity, ability to see good amidst evil, thank you for all you’ve done to support survivors and survival. May you enjoy many more happy healthy years with your family – and keep enjoying the sports you love.” From former pensions and welfare minister Baroness Ros Altmann CBE

“You are the most inspiring man I know. You are so brave; you risked your life for so many people. You achieved so much. Even after living in a cramped ghetto, where you were malnourished, worked hard and had to risk your life to play with non-Jewish children, you were so brave about the loss of your family. You still managed to compete in the Olympics, get a knighthood and go to university. Those are some impressive things. Thank you so much for inspiring and showing me that anyone can do anything.” From Adina, Year 6 pupil at Sacks Morasha Jewish Primary School

Communal heroes Rachel Riley and Ben Helfgott

“How does it feel to risk your life daily, to see so many people die? Yet when you came to the UK you inspired so many. I mean surviving the Nazi invasion and Holocaust is one thing but from basically a skeleton to an Olympic champion and contributing to Holocaust remembrance is another. You are perhaps my biggest inspiration.” From Zachary, Year 6 pupil at Sacks Morasha Jewish Primary School

“I wish you have a great 90th birthday and to make it even more special, I suggest for you to wear your 1958 bronze medal that you got from the Commonwealth Games. You have inspired me to try the best I can in life as you got through the whole Holocaust you made me think ‘If you can do that then surely I can accomplish what I need to do,’ so with your help I can live life how I want to.” From Yoni, Year 6 pupil at Sacks Morasha Jewish Primary School

“Sir Ben, happy 90th! On reaching this milestone may we “Remember bygone days; understand the years of each generation (Deuteronomy 23:2)”. Together we will grow and learn from your experience and strive to become the best versions of ourselves.” From the students and teachers at Richmond Cheder

“As Sir Ben celebrates his 90th year, I and a great many others in Israel salute him for his remarkable story of endurance and survival, and his lifelong commitment to sharing his experiences with others. The impact of his efforts will continue to be felt for many years to come.” From Israel’s Ambassador in London, HE Mark Regev

“Dear Sir Ben, best wishes on your 90th I send my warm congratulations to you on this significant milestone. As a Holocaust survivor you have worked so incredibly hard over decades to educate people about living in harmony and exercising mutual respect and understanding of one another. I admire your work and hope you can take the time to enjoy celebrating this special birthday with your family.” From Theresa May, former prime minister

Prime Minister Theresa May
(Photo credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire)

“In some the will to survive horrors is so strong we can only marvel at their courage. Ben, you haven’t only come through; you have borne witness, and that takes greater courage still.” From author Howard Jacobson

“My very best wishes, Ben, as you celebrate your 90th. You’re a remarkable man, surviving the Holocaust to go on and become a champion weightlifter. You’ve shown incredible courage and commitment, promoting lessons of tolerance and understanding, including sharing your personal experiences to ensure this terrible tragedy is never forgotten.” From Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

“What a remarkable life Sir Ben has lived. It’s an honour to send warm birthday greetings to him. May he enjoy many more birthdays and may we as a country continue to honour him and his generation. His contribution to the Jewish community and the UK has been profound – happy birthday Ben!” From Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

“From all the children, we wish you a very Happy Birthday! Congratulations on reaching 90. It is a very big achievement to become a weightlifting champion and a Sir after your experiences. Through good times and bad you stayed strong. You are a Mosaic model and inspiration. We are privileged to write this birthday message to you. We are adding a certificate to celebrate your birthday. Mazel tov!” From Mosaic Jewish Primary School Year 6

“I admire the work you do teaching from bitter experience the lesson of the Holocaust. I lost a grandmother and other family in Poland who disappeared, so the work you do is appreciated by me.” From Lord Monroe Palmer, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords

“BBYO would like to thank you for your important contribution to the Jewish and broader community. You are a wonderful role model for our young people and have made such an important impact on the world. Here’s to a joyous and well-deserved 90th birthday celebration!” From Kira Blumer, director of BBYO UK and Ireland 

“The contribution of Sir Ben to humanity cannot be overestimated. Memory and commemoration of the Holocaust, the darkest time in all history, is a sacred duty because in all of the ways it is done we redeem our collective soul and allow all of mankind to once again walk with peace and love as our guiding templates. Ben has made it his mission that we do not falter and he together is blessing for us all.” From Sir Mick Davis, former chair of Jewish Leadership Council and of the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission

“A hearty mazel-tov on this great milestone. Ben, you embody the triumph of the human spirit over unspeakable evil. Until 120!” From Lord Michael Grade

“Happy Birthday to our community’s most cherished custodian of the mission to remember, understand and teach. Our debt of gratitude and admiration recognise your unique role in every initiative, organisation and institution which has carried this through. We are excited with what your irrepressible spirit, energy and vision will do in the future. With all our love.” From Lady Nicola and Lord Jon Mendelsohn

“Ben, your determination, intellect, strength and commitment to Holocaust memorial and education are unparalleled.  May you and Ada be blessed 90 times over on this, your 90th birthday.” From Laura Marks OBE, founder of Mitzvah Day and chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

Laura Marks, chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

“To an inspirational man who has devoted so much of his life to educating others and setting the finest example – lifting not just weights as an Olympian, but the hearts and minds of so many people who have heard and been touched by your amazing story. We wish you a happy and healthy 90th and a very hearty mazel tov on reaching another milestone!” From the children, staff and governors at North Cheshire Jewish Primary School

“From everyone here I wish you a very happy 90th. You endured unimaginable suffering but your massive strength, optimism, vitality and above all humanity are an example to us all. I have huge admiration for you. Many happy returns Sir Ben!” From Board of Deputies’ president Marie van der Zyl

“Sir Ben, champion weightlifter and champion for all who value human life, dignity and memory. I salute you with admiration, respect and gratitude. Happy birthday!” From author and TV presenter Stephen Fry  

“We wish Sir Ben a very happy birthday. We’ve worked together in the British delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance for many years, and you have been a great supporter of our work in Holocaust learning. We hope you have a wonderful day.” From the Imperial War Museums team

“A very happy birthday to Sir Ben on behalf of the Sephardi community. Thank you for reminding and proving to the world that there is no arena of human achievement in which the Jewish people cannot excel. It is an honour to celebrate 90 years with you. Many happy and healthy returns.” From Rabbi Joseph Dweck, senior rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community

“Dear Sir Ben, I wish you a very happy 90th. You are truly inspirational and I want to add my thanks to all those who appreciate the massive contribution you have made to public life. I hope you have Many Happy Returns.” From Tony Blair, former prime minister

Former PM Tony Blair

“Dearest Ben, Mazeltov on your 90th. Your voice may have softened over the years but your words and wisdom remain as strong as granite. You inspire us with your courage and resolve to reach out in search of peace and reconciliation. You are a great humanitarian and devoted friend.” From Ruth-Anne Lenga, programme director at UCL Centre for Holocaust Education

“Happy birthday to one of the world’s most inspirational people and a hero to many.” From Neil Blair, talent agent

“Many happy returns and thank you so much for everything you have achieved. The work you do now, and the memories you keep alive, are such a powerful reminder of how fragile peace is around the world and how hard we must all work to protect it. Your achievements have promoted an outward-looking, inclusive society and it is a privilege to join others in wishing you an excellent 90th birthday.” From Jo Swinson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Jo Swinson Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

“Ben is a giant of our community, an inspiration to me and many others. His resilience and commitment to educating the next generation about the Shoah is vital, few people have done more in this regard. On behalf of the JLC I wish Ben a hearty Mazel Tov on his birthday.” From Jewish Leadership Council chair Jonathan Goldstein

“Sir Ben has lived an extraordinary life. From surviving the horrors of the Shoah to building a new life in England as a teenager and to captaining the British Olympic weightlifting team, his story is truly inspiring. On his 90th birthday I thank Sir Ben for his ongoing, outstanding work with HMDT, ensuring lessons from one of history’s darkest chapters are never forgotten.” From Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Holocaust survivors Ben Helfgott and Manfred Goldberg besides Mayor of London​ Sadiq Khan​, as he signs the Holocaust Educational Trust (UK)​ Book of Commitment at City Hall.

“Sue and I are delighted to send our fondest good wishes to Sir Ben on his milestone birthday. One of UK Jewry’s true heroes, Ben, with his indomitable spirit, wisdom, passion and ever-present smile typifies what it is to be a proud Jew today. We send our love and best wishes; happy birthday Sir Ben.” From philanthropists Sue and Leo Noé

Delighted to wish a very happy 90th birthday to Sir Ben Helfgott who has worked tirelessly to promote tolerance and combat hate. He has campaigned to ensure Holocaust commemoration remains at the forefront of our efforts to tackle the scourge of antisemitism. From Boris Johnson, Prime minister

Boris Johnson

During the course of your 90 years, you have been a victim of the lowest acts of human barbarity and been elevated to the soaring heights of national recognition. Your life is a case study in how to respond to evil, bringing light where there is darkness and hope where there is despair. You have been a tireless advocate for the memory of those who did not survive and in doing so you have made our community, our country and indeed our world a more moral place. Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth

Sir Ben is a hero. An inspiration to us all. Despite everything he endured in the Holocaust, he has made – and still makes – an extraordinary contribution to our country. It is amazing that he uses his experience of these terrible events to teach us where racism and prejudice can lead. What a great man. From Ian Austin, former MP 

I’m so proud to have got to know you and witness first-hand the hope and inspiration you give the world. Happy birthday to a national hero, with very many more to come. Richard Ferrer, Editor, Jewish News

Sir Ben Helfgott receives his knighthood from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire
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