A London rabbi who has taken 22,000 schoolchildren to Auschwitz-Birkenau to learn the horrors of the Holocaust is to received one of Poland’s most prestigious awards.
Rabbi Barry Marcus of Central Synagogue received a letter telling him that he would be presented with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland by Ambassador Witold Sobkow at a ceremony at the Polish embassy on 23 October.
Approached for comment on Monday, Marcus said: “They still haven’t told me what it’s for!”
Obviously I’m honoured and thrilled, but I could really do with knowing why they’re giving me this award so I know what to talk about.”
Initially, the Embassy spokeswoman did not know either, but it later transpired that the award was “in recognition of his outstanding services to the promotion of Holocaust education in the United Kingdom and his pro-Polish stance”.
Marcus has made over 150 trips to Poland with the Holocaust Education Trust (HET) on their Lessons from Auschwitz trip.
He has built up a good relationship with the Polish community in Britain, even having the Polish ambassador speak in shul.