– Holocaust survivor Mrs. Eve Gill gives moving speech to attendees
– Theme of 2016’s event was ‘Don’t Stand By’
– 27 January marks anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945
Sutton Council marked this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day with a special commemorative event featuring a moving speech from Holocaust survivor and Cheam resident Mrs. Eve Gill.
Among those present at Sutton Grammar School on 27 January to hear Mrs. Gill’s story unfold were the deputy leader of Sutton Council, Cllr Simon Wales, and the Mayor of Sutton, Cllr Muhammad Sadiq, as well as schoolchildren and religious representatives from the borough.
Eve Gill was born in Vienna, Austria and lived there until 1938 when the Nazis annexed her country. Her father was soon interned in the notorious Dachau concentration camp as the atmosphere grew ever tenser.
Eve managed to get a place on one of the Kindertransports, the trains that carried thousands of child refugees fleeing Nazi persecution in occupied Europe to sanctuary in the UK, and was given a home in Glasgow. Eve’s father survived his internment and eventually moved to the UK to rejoin his family.
Mrs. Eve Gill speaks at the Holocaust Memorial Day event on Wednesday 27 January.
Eve Gill said:
“It was a frightening time. I was fortunate. I got out. Many others did not. We must make sure to never to be complacent. This must never happen again. Britain is my home and I love it here. Recent stories about anti-Semitism here and in Europe worry me. We must never be the ones to stand by.”
Eve married an Englishman and has remained in the UK ever since arriving. However her experiences during the darkest hours of European history have never left her.
Cllr Simon Wales, Deputy Leader of Sutton Council, said:
“Holocaust Memorial Day is itself an example of not standing by – it enables us all to lead the way in resolving not to be bystanders. Anti-Semitism, racism and hate crime have not gone away, but every one of us can make a difference in our own communities. We can all challenge prejudice and discrimination if we see and hear it in our schools, workplaces or civic spaces. The next big challenge will be for us not to stand by when Syrians and others displaced by war and strife come to us for help. After Mrs. Gill’s speech, a short series of presentations from students at Sutton Grammar School highlighted the effects of more recent genocides, including those in Rwanda and Darfur.”
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no-one left to speak for me.” Martin Niemöller, victim of Nazi persecution, quoted at the event.