SWESRS – South West Essex & Settlement Reform Synagogue invited over 1,000 children from primary and secondary schools in Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham to take part in a special programme linked to Holocaust Memorial Day.
The programme was aimed at encouraging and motivating students to respect other people’s differences and seek to eliminate discrimination. The children met Holocaust survivors and children of survivors, plus adults who escaped to the UK on the Kindertransport including Rabbi Harry Jacobi who was born in Berlin in 1925 and came to THE United Kingdom from the Netherlands following a double escape from the Nazis in 1939 and then 1940. He was one of 74 children saved by Gertuide Wijsmuller-Meijer (one of the Righteous Gentiles) on the last evening before the Dutch capitulation on 15th May 1940.
The children were shown an exhibition on Jewish life in Europe before the Second World War, compared to how life changed for Jews from the late 1930s until after 1945. One 11 year old pupil said “I didn’t know that people could be so cruel to children of another religion”.