Unity is Strength banner held up outside the gates of the notorious death camp. Chief Rabbi Mirvis is on the

Unity is Strength banner held up outside the gates of the notorious death camp. Chief Rabbi Mirvis is on the third from the right.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has spoken of his “heart-breaking” visit to Auschwitz this week.

In a letter to the 244 participants on a trip organised by the UHC Shadwell Lane Synagogue in Leeds, he wrote that it was “a mitzvah” to visit concentration camps.

He said: “I consider it a mitzvah to make heart-breaking visits to Concentration Camps, where we have the  opportunity to learn about all that transpired there and to pay tribute to the memory of those who perished.”

Rabbi Mirvis added that it “will provide us with the means towards returning home feeling encouraged and inspired to deepen our Jewish awareness and strengthen our Jewish identity.”

Rabbi Mirvis speaking with Shoah survivor Arek Hersh

Rabbi Mirvis speaking with Shoah survivor Arek Hersh

He joined the group in the Kazimierz district of Krakow, before touring the camp and leading a memorial service.

The trip, ‘Unity is Strength’ included 86 year-old Holocaust survivor Arek Hersh and over 30 people from other faiths.

Reverend Chris Swift, Head of Chaplain of the Leeds Teaching Hospital attended. He said before leaving, he hoped it “will help to emphasise the vital importance of honouring people of all faiths and beliefs.”

Addressing the memorial service at the camp

Addressing the memorial service at the camp