A Czech-born Auschwitz survivor, who spent more than two decades sharing her testimony, has won a Pride of Birmingham Award.
Mindu Hornick was made an MBE in 2019. She has now won Pride of Birmingham’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with the Holocaust Memorial Trust and the Anne Frank Trust.
The Holocaust educator based in Birmingham, who for 40 years felt unable to speak about the atrocities she had experienced, was deported to Auschwitz in 1942, as were her mother, sister and two younger brothers.
“We arrived at a place called Auschwitz. We were pushed through this gate,” she said in a pre-recorded message. “We thought we’d entered hell, and there was a terrible smell, a grey greasy ash falling all around us. ”
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“We were selected to work in an ammunition factory in a way that was … luck because if we had stayed in Auschwitz, there is no way we would have survived,” she said.
She has credited for her survival a Polish prisoner, who urged her and her sister to lie about their age, as they arrived at the Nazi camp in a cattle carriage, Mindu then aged 12.
She said: “By the painful sharing of what happened to me and my family in those terrible years, I have played my part in keeping the memory alive in the hope that those that will hear us will take on board the message that it is wrong to stand up when others are being persecuted.
“Unbelievably humanity still seems incapable of learning from the past and today we live in a world where people are still being persecuted and murdered in the most horrific circumstances and we still see what is happening and fail to stop it.”
Unbelievably humanity still seems incapable of learning from the past and today we live in a world where people are still being persecuted and murdered in the most horrific circumstances and we still see what is happening and fail to stop it
Coronation Street star Maureen Lipman paid tribute to the survivor in a video message, broadcast during a virtual award ceremony hosted by actress Kym Marsh.
Lipman said: “I wish I were there Mindu to give you an actual hug and to thank you for the work that you do to help keep the message and the story of the Holocaust alive.
“I know how hard it’s been for you to actually talk about it and the work you do to bring faiths together against any kind of organised violence is magnificent. Thank you. Enjoy this prize because it comes with such admiration and respect.”