Monday 10 March 2008

Leon Greenman, Auschwitz survivor 98288 (1910 – 2008)

Young and old alike must learn about the Holocaust as warning against the dangers of racism. There is no difference in colour or religion. If I had survived to betray the dead it would have been better not to survive. We must not forget. Please do not forget.

Leon Greenman OBE, survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp and anti fascist campaigner passed away on Friday 7 March at the age of 97.

Leon Greenman, survived the horrors of six concentration camps including Auschwitz. Leon, his wife Else and his two and a half year old son Barney were bundled onto cattle trucks and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Leon last glimpsed his wife and child as they entered the camp—both perished there, murdered by the Nazis.

Enduring, along with millions, the death marches, the beatings, the slave labour and the starvation of the death camps, he vowed not to allow it to break him and to survive to tell of the horrors he witnessed. He lived to that promise and following his liberation in 1945 spent the next 60 years speaking to all those he could of his experiences in concentration camps and how we must all learn from the past.

Millions heard Leon’s moving story of struggle and survival and were challenged to “ Never Again” allow the fascists space to grow, “Never Again” allow those horrors to be forgotten and “Never Again” have these horrors repeated on future humanity. All who heard him have been affected by it and many of them became anti-fascist activists because of it.

At school after school, anti- fascist demonstrations and rallies, Leon emplored us all to understand where fascism and fascist lead. Urging his audiences to create a movement that could prevent a repetition of the Holocaust.

Leon believed education was a powerful tool in the weaponry against the Nazis and was awarded an OBE for his work with schools. But he was also a firm believer in participating in the struggle against fascism too. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Anti-Nazi League and Unite Against Fascism, and joined in many demonstrations and protests across the country against the fascist National Front and British National Party. He lent his support to countless events and gained immense enjoyment from attending Love Music Hate Racism events, sharing the stage with Pete Doherty in Trafalgar Square in 2004. He loved young people and sparked off their energy.

The Independent

Leon Greenman:

English survivor of Auschwitz obituary

Telegraph

Englishman imprisoned in Auschwitz dies

BBC news

English Auschwitz survivor dies

Leon’s interview with the Guardian 2005

BBC news in pictures

Leon Greenman OBE –

an Englishman in Auschwitz


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