On Tuesday pupils from primary and secondary schools across Wirral will travel to the Floral Pavilion Theatre, New Brighton, to hear testimony from Holocaust survivor Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines, as part of a visit organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET).
This year, the event will be opened by the Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Geoffrey Watt. The Mayor will welcome Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines to Wirral’s commemoration event for the first time. The Mayor will be accompanied by the Mayoress, Mrs Anne Watt.
The event will include a presentation from Wirral students who have recently visited Auschwitz, while other Wirral young people will make the Statement of Commitment, as the Yahrtzeit candles are lit.
Born in 1929, Milena was one of the 669 predominantly Jewish children who were evacuated from Prague on one of the eight kindertransport trains organised by Sir Nicholas Winton.
In 1939, Milena arrived at London Liverpool Street station with her sister and cousin to be met by the Radcliffes – her guardian family from Ashton-under-Lyne. Milena’s father was already in England having fled Czechoslovakia in 1939 but was too ill to take care of the children. It was only in 1940, when her mother arrived, that Milena left the Radcliffes’ care.
Throughout her life, Milena has clearly tried to live up to the words her grandfather wrote in an autograph book he gave her before she left on the kindertransport – be faithful to the country you are leaving.
The Mayor of Wirral is delighted that Wirral is again able to hold its commemoration of the Holocaust.
He said: “It will be a privilege for me to welcome Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines to Wirral. Her testimony will remain a powerful reminder of the horrors so many experienced. I am grateful to the Holocaust Educational Trust for co-ordinating the visit and hope that hearing Milena’s testimony will encourage our students to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and make a positive difference in their own lives.”
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust added: “The Holocaust Educational Trust educates and engages students from across the UK, from all communities, about the Holocaust and there can be no better way than through the first-hand testimony of a survivor. Milena’s story is of courage and survival during horrific circumstances. By hearing her testimony, students will have the opportunity to learn where prejudice and racism can ultimately lead.”