|The London Klezmer Quartet|
By New Worker Correspondent
AMNESTY International and the Waltham Forest section of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) joined forces last Wednesday evening to host a Holocaust Memorial Day event with speakers, a film, music and debate, in Hackney, to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.
Speakers included Holocaust Survivor Mala Tribich, Sandar Szoke from the Hungarian (Anti-fascist Movement, Roma Civil Rights Movement and son of Holocaust survivors), David Rosenberg (author of The Battle of the East End), Dan Jones (Amnesty International), Natasha Munoz, Father Steven Saxby and Weyman Bennett of the UAF.
The event was opened by Dan Jones Amnesty International and chaired by David Rosenberg.
Mala Tribich gave an account of her early life, in which she experienced her family being forced to live in a ghetto and then being forced into a concentration camp.
Mala Tribich was born in Poland in 1930 and is the sister of Olympic medallist Ben Helfgott – the only members of their immediate family to survive. During the occupation, her parents moved her and a cousin to a Catholic family. But they were so homesick they asked to return to the ghetto.
One day they were taken to a row of lorries at an unknown destination. But Mrs Tribich, then 12, showed incredible chutzpah: she asked an SS officer if she and her cousin Hania, who was five, could return to the ghetto. Amazingly, the officer said yes.
She survived two death camps and was reunited with her brother several years after the war. In Britain, she met and married Maurice Tribich, completed a degree in sociology and raised two children.
Sandor Szoke gave an account of the situation in Hungary, Rumania and the rise of fascism and anti-Semitism.
This was followed by a question and answer session chaired by David Rosenberg, author and Jewish socialist.
Natasha Munoz from We Are Waltham Forest spoke about the positivity and raised morale in Waltham Forest after We Are Waltham Forest successfully blocked a march by the Islamophobic English Defence League.
Father Steve Saxby, who works with Walthamstow Immigration Centre, spoke on multicultural diversity and the problems of isolation and loneliness for immigrants in Britain.
Weyman Bennett, leader of the UAF warned that, in spite of a year of victories against the EDL and other fascist organisations, we should not be complacent but must still come out on the streets to oppose EDL and other racist and fascist scum.
Music was provided by the London Klezmer Quartet.