Sir Ben Helfgott has said he was “truly humbled and honoured” to receive a 90th birthday card with 90 signatures in a special edition of Jewish News.
The Holocaust survivor, who competed as a British weightlifter in several Olympic Games, was presented with a birthday card signed by five prime ministers as well as sporting legends and well-known names from the world of arts and media.
“I was truly honoured and humbled to have read all the most kind and generous tributes that were paid to me on the occasion of my 90th birthday,” he wrote in a letter to the editor published this week.
“I am writing to thank Jewish News and each and every one of the contributors most sincerely. Your gracious and most flattering words will give me even greater incentive to pursue the ideals of a more tolerant society that we have all been working towards.”
Ben was born in Poland on 22 November 1929 and survived camps such as Buchenwald and Theresienstadt before arriving in England in 1945. His mother and sister were shot by the Nazis.
In 2018 he was knighted for services to Holocaust remembrance and education, but is best-known in the Jewish community for his 46-year chairmanship of the ’45 Aid Society, a group set up for the 732 Jewish boys and girls brought to the UK at the end of the war, most of whom spent their first weeks in the Lake District.
— Richard Ferrer ???? (@richferrer) November 22, 2019