National Volunteer Week: Holocaust Survivors gather to thank vital helpers

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National Volunteer Week: Holocaust Survivors gather to thank vital helpers

The Association of Jewish Refugees celebrates the volunteers who brought together the My Story project - 50 individual life story books capturing survivor testimony

Mary Green, Berndt Koschland, Monique Blake, Manfred Goldberg, Anna Russell Holocaust survivors_AJR My Story_Volunteer Thank You event
Mary Green, Berndt Koschland, Monique Blake, Manfred Goldberg, Anna Russell Holocaust survivors_AJR My Story_Volunteer Thank You event

The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) gathered as part of National Volunteer Week to thank more than 250 supporters who give up their time to help Holocaust survivors and refugees across the UK tell their stories.

The AJR’s ‘My Story’ project recounts the histories of Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors through the production of individual life story books to be kept as treasured memories and tools for reminiscence and to raise awareness about the Holocaust and Nazi oppression.

The AJR Volunteers department oversees the network of supporters who provide on the ground assistance – from playing cards and games, going for walks, helping with their tablet or computer, to a weekly chat and cup of tea.

AJR My Story_Monique Blake_cover front

Michael Newman, chief executive officer, The AJR said: “As we move from living to lived history, the AJR is dedicated to keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive, through our work as the largest dedicated funder of Holocaust education and by capturing and sharing the stories of this unique community with projects such as ‘My Story’. Our work helps preserve the record of the darkest period of Jewish history and share its lessons and its warnings, in the hope that it can never recur.”

Manfred Goldberg_My Story_ cover

Fran Horwich, head of volunteer service, The AJR said: “Here at The AJR our volunteer network reaches Holocaust refugees and survivors across every region of the UK. We are proud of our 80+ year history in supporting this unique community, a privilege made possible by the vital help of volunteers. So, today we pay tribute to their invaluable contribution – hard work, dedication and passion.”

Lisa Bayfield, AJR Volunteer, who worked with Hana Newman and Ivan Shaw on their My Story books said: “Having the privilege to listen to Hana and Ivan tell their incredible stories was a profoundly moving experience. Hana and Ivan’s extraordinary courage and strength to retell the most traumatic events in significant detail was testament to two remarkable individuals. I know that their families appreciate having their stories recorded in the My Story book and I thank the AJR for allowing me to take part in an experience which will stay with me forever.”

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