Rachel Riley hosts Holocaust Survivors’ Centre dinner for Jewish Care

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Rachel Riley hosts Holocaust Survivors’ Centre dinner for Jewish Care

The event at St. John's Wood synagogue featured guest speaker Maureen Lipman and raised £150k to support survivors and refugees

Ivor Perl BEM, member of Jewish Care's Holocaust Survivors' Centre, interviewed by Dov Forman at Jewish Care Holocaust Survivors' Centre Fundraising Dinner. Pic: JUSTIN GRAINGE
Ivor Perl BEM, member of Jewish Care's Holocaust Survivors' Centre, interviewed by Dov Forman at Jewish Care Holocaust Survivors' Centre Fundraising Dinner. Pic: JUSTIN GRAINGE

More than 220 guests gave a standing ovation to 91-year-old Holocaust survivor and educator, Ivor Perl BEM, at a fundraising dinner for Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre.

The event at St. John’s Wood Synagogue raised over £150,000 for the Centre, the only one of its kind in the UK. It supports 300 Holocaust survivors, refugees and their spouses through social, therapeutic and outreach programmes.

Ivor Perl, who lives at Jewish Care’s Selig Court Retirement Living apartments at the Maurice & Vivienne Wohl Campus, spoke with Dov Forman, the great grandson of fellow Shoah survivor Lily Ebert.

Speaking with Dov, Ivor said, “The Centre is even more important to me and fellow survivors as we get older. The memories of the Holocaust never leave you and talking about it brought back many traumatic moments, so what followed was me becoming a member of the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre many years ago where we also have support from the wonderful Shalvata (therapeutic service).

Rachel Riley MBE, Dame Maureen Lipman DBE, Ivor Perl BEM, Dinner Committee Chair Linda Bogod, Dov Forman at Jewish Care Holocaust Survivors’ Centre Dinner. Pic: Justin Grainge

“I’ve since moved to Jewish Care’s Selig Court Retirement Living to be closer to the Centre. The Centre offers us so much care and support, a place to be together and what we really need right now, which is an abundance of love that we receive from the staff and volunteers there, who I can only describe as angels.”

Linda Bogod, Holocaust Survivors’ Centre dinner committee Chair, said: “My involvement with the Centre is very personal, it is a service that is extremely close to my heart, and I am immensely proud to be here this evening to help raise vital funds for this very special place.”

Hannah Lewis, member of the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre, gives vote of thanks at Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre Fundraising Dinner. Pic: Justin Grainge

“Both my mother and my father were born in Germany, my mother in Berlin in 1932 and my father in 1923 in Frankfurt. Whilst my mother’s family managed to leave in the mid 1930’s and settled in Israel, my father did not manage to escape until June 1939 when he was 16, just under a year after his father was brutally murdered on Kristallnacht simply for being Jewish. He was one of the 91 Jews killed that night. His family were not able to escape in time and his younger brother and mother were hidden in an attic in Belgium for several years during the war.

“My father who was able to lead a very happy and fulfilled life in the UK, sadly died eight years ago, and after his death my mother started attending the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre. I am immensely proud to have my mother here with us tonight. The Monday morning Hebrew speaking group she attends at the Centre is the highlight of her week, and the support she and the Holocaust survivors and refugees who are members get from the wonderful volunteers and staff makes a huge difference to their lives.”

Jewish Care’s director of fundraising and community engagement, Adam Overlander-Kaye, said, “I want to thank our speakers for kindly giving us their time, our dedicated Dinner Committee for creating such a special and successful evening and our guests for their generosity in raising over £150,000.

“These vital funds will go a long way to helping us to continue to run the Centre which is a lifeline, supporting over 300 survivors, refugees and their spouses who rely on the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre programmes of social, therapeutic and outreach programmes for their well being and so that they can continue to share their experiences as part of their legacy.”

Rachel Riley MBE at Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors Centre Fundraising Dinner Committee. Pic: Justin Grainge

The evening was hosted by Rachel Riley MBE, who has visited the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre several times this year and she introduced guest speaker, Dame Maureen Lipman DBE, actress, writer and comedian, who also generously donated her time.

Dame Maureen said: “We will all need Jewish Care in our lifetime, and times are especially tough at the moment. We are here for the Holocaust survivors’ and we are blessed to have some of them here tonight. The Holocaust Survivors’ Centre is so important and we have to continue to give them our support.”

Established over four decades ago for survivors of the Holocaust, the Centre costs more than £375k to run each year.

Many of its 300 members are on their own and view the Centre as their second home. It provides kosher food, Yiddish singing and discussion, Hebrew discussion, current affairs talks, music, theatre trips, celebrating Jewish festivals and marking Holocaust Memorial Day.

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