Part of a garden dedicated to the memory of one of Haringey’s most inspiring Holocaust survivors has been unveiled by his widow.
The Holocaust Memorial Garden, at Bruce Castle Museum in Tottenham, is a lasting testament to those who died at the hands of the Nazis, and has been transformed from a jungle of undergrowth in a unique project by Haringey Council’s Equality and Youth Offending Services.
Susie Halter – widow of survivor Roman Halter – was joined by their daughter Aviva Halter Hurn, and the Mayor of Haringey, Councillor Sheila Peacock, to open the green spot in a moving ceremony on what would have been the painter’s 86th birthday.
The garden’s striking centrepiece is a new sculpture of six upright sleepers – representing the six million Jewish Holocaust victims – on a base of the Star of David and an Anne Frank Rose; the sleepers symbolising the way families were transported to concentration camps.
A team of six young offenders, supported by council staff, designed the sculpture and cleared the space of weeds and vegetation after undergoing training at Wolves Lane Horticultural Nursery and learning about the Holocaust in a class with organisation Facing History and Ourselves.
Roman Halter, who escaped a concentration camp in Germany and fled to Britain after the war, dedicated his later life to telling others about his experiences under the Nazis.
Roman’s mother told him to jump from a lorry that was transporting his family to be killed, and although he survived, he saw harrowing scenes he would later depict in paintings once he moved to London.
After his death in January last year, Haringey’s Holocaust Memorial Working Party to dedicate this year’s memorial events to him.
Cllr Peacock, who organises the events each year, said: “I am delighted that Susie was able to open this beautiful garden, where we can remember the victims of the horrors of the Holocaust.
“Roman dedicated his life to telling his story so the lessons of the past live on, and he would have been proud of the work our young people did to create this sculpture.”
The team of young offenders will continue to maintain the garden, which was funded by charity donations.