Twitter users share #FirstSurvivor experiences for Holocaust Memorial Day
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Twitter users share #FirstSurvivor experiences for Holocaust Memorial Day

Campaign follows appeal earlier this month for Twitter users to describe their first experience of antisemitism.

Twitter users have taken to social media to share their first memories of meeting Shoah survivors to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, in response to a rabbi’s Twitter appeal.

In a tweet published yesterday, Rabbi Zvi Solomons asked people to share their first memories of meeting Holocaust survivors under the hashtag #FirstSurvivor.

Among the responses, one came from Judy Stone, a Forbes contributor and clinical researcher, who tweeted: “My #FirstSurvivor mother (at first) didn’t want her grandchildren to know her so it wouldn’t hurt so much when she died.

“She really started loving life when she hit 90. My daughter sang ‘For Good’ to her at a pageant and her funeral.”

Henry Grunwald, President, World Jewish Relief and Chairman of the UK National Holocaust Centre said: “My father, Eugen, arrived in the UK from Czechoslovakia on 4/8/39. He was lucky. He had a work permit. Almost all of his large family were murdered in the death camps #firstsurvivor

Meanwhile, David Pinto-Duschins, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Hendon added: “My was my father. Smuggled out of the Munkacs ghetto as a baby and hidden in an orphanage for deaf and blind children in Budapest. Most of the rest of the family perished. Brought to this country after the war as a child refugee.”

Lawyer Barbara Rich added, the first survivor she knew was “my late mother b[orn]. Prague 1924, young refugee in Denmark 1939, Sweden 1943, England 1946, picture l. teaching chemistry in London school in 1980s.. drawing of Prague on the day of her departure. She never saw her mother again”.

Describing his first survivor in a tweet, Rabbi Solomons said: “My was my (Great) Uncle Shimon Kole, who was hidden by French nuns in the South of France.

“His daughter Sarah was in Auschwitz, (I think were the first ones I remember meeting) although being Jewish I was probably surrounded by survivors, in a way all Jews are”.

Speaking to Jewish News, Rabbi Solomons said: “People are more willing to open up using modern technology.

“It seems to have tapped into some emotion and of course the stories are both very beautiful and very sad.

“Some of it is really heartbreaking but also it’s an important historical record.”

He added: “People forget that Jews have to live with this all the time. It’s not just on one day.”

The social media appeal, which drew hundreds of retweets and responses, follows a similar social media campaign Rabbi Solomons launched earlier this month under the hashtag #FirstAntisemiticExperience.

The religious leader of the Jewish Community of Berkshire in Reading asked online users to describe their experience of antisemitism.

You can read more about #FirstAntisemiticExperience here.

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