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Manfred Goldberg shares harrowing testimony of surviving Nazi concentration camps as Hackney marks Holocaust Memorial Day

PUBLISHED: 20:25 30 January 2018

Holocaust survivor Manfred Goldberg speaking on Holocaust Memorial Day. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine

Holocaust survivor Manfred Goldberg speaking on Holocaust Memorial Day. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine

Gary Manhine

Manfred Goldberg used to be unable to discuss the traumatic experiences he endured in five Nazi concentration camps.

Pupils from Simon Marks Jewish Primary School and The Olive School Hackney sing Michael Jackson's song Heal the World. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary ManhinePupils from Simon Marks Jewish Primary School and The Olive School Hackney sing Michael Jackson's song Heal the World. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine

But with the rise of antisemitism he feels it’s important for survivors to speak out, so the younger generation can hear first-hand accounts of the Holocaust.

The brave 87-year-old shared his harrowing personal testimony at Hackney Town Hall yesterday, at a ceremony to mark Holocaust Memorial Day remembering the Nazi’s murderous regime and subsequent genocides around the world.

By the age of 15 Manfred had been forced to work as a slave labourer and was subject to systematic brutal treatment and starvation.

He said: “We even lost our names, all we had was a number for identification.

Mayor of Hackney Phil Glanville speaking on Holocaust Memorial Day. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary ManhineMayor of Hackney Phil Glanville speaking on Holocaust Memorial Day. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine

“Mine is still deeply ingrained in my mind, 56478. Through it all though, I never lost my determination to survive.”

Against all odds he survived the Nazi’s mission to exterminate the entire Jewish population and other ‘undesirables’ of Europe.

Six million others - including all of his extended family and younger brother - did not.

The theme of the this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day was ‘The Power of Words’, encouraging people to consider how words can make a difference - both for good and evil.

The Urswick School head boy Augustine Kodom and head girl Chloe Chilvers with Mayor of Hackney Phil Glanville and Hackney Speaker Soraya Adejare, laying the wreath for Holocaust Memorial Day. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary ManhineThe Urswick School head boy Augustine Kodom and head girl Chloe Chilvers with Mayor of Hackney Phil Glanville and Hackney Speaker Soraya Adejare, laying the wreath for Holocaust Memorial Day. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine

In her opening speech the Speaker of Hackney, Soraya Adejare said: “The Holocaust was a defining event in human history. Its legacies continue to shape the modern world whilst the challenging questions it raises about human behaviour have universal relevance.

“In marking Holocaust Memorial Day we are provided with scope to unify our voices in calling for an end to racial, ethnic, religious, disability, gender and sexuality based violence and oppression.”

Pupils from Simon Marks Jewish Primary School and The Olive School Hackney, a Muslim faith school, came together to sing ‘Heal the World’.

Homage was paid to Yiddish singer and scholar, Barry Davis, who lived in Hackney, who died last year.

After the ceremony flowers were placed at the Holocaust memorial in Hackney Town Hall Square, which contains the inscription: “Commandment number one of any civilised society is this: let people be different”.

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