Torn from home

  • 19
  • Jan

Imagine being forced out or having to flee your home in an instant, scared for your life and never to return. ‘Torn from home’ is the theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations and is exactly what Holocaust survivor, Harry Spiro experienced when in 1939, aged 10, he was forced from his family home after the Nazis invaded the Polish town where he lived.

Harry and his family were forced into a Nazi ghetto where they lived in overcrowded, unhygienic conditions and were made to work for the Nazis. All of Harry’s family were murdered at a concentration camp and Harry narrowly missed the same fate while at work in the glass factory.

Harry was left alone and over the next few years was transferred from concentration camp to concentration camp before eventually being liberated by the Soviets in 1945. Harry became one of 1,000 children survivors accepted by the British Government to settle in the UK. Here, Harry had to start again. He mastered the English language and eventually opened a shop on Holloway Road before marrying his wife Pauline.

You can hear Harry’s full story, told by his daughter Tracy, and of others who have, and are still, being ‘Torn from home’ at this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration on Monday 28 January, 10am-12noon, at Islington Assembly Hall, N1 2UD. Please email for more information.

To commemorate this important date the following local events are also being held:

Islington Libraries (Archway, Central and Finsbury) are hosting a themed booklist to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport.

Torn from home event at the Union Chapel on 30 January.

Chabad Islington’s ‘Man’s search for meaning’ book discussion on 31 January.

Outside Islington there are also exhibitions at the Jewish Museum in Camden and the Photographers Gallery in Oxford Circus. For full listings visit the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website and search by postcode.

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