“I WOULD have given anything to be an ant, to be free in the soil.” It was over 60 years since Ibi Ginsburg had clung to life in Auschwitz, and she remembered vividly her longing for freedom and her old life.

I met Ibi a decade ago at a Holocaust Memorial event. She told me about her home in rural Hungary, where she was happy until the age of 18 when she and her family were forced out, rounded up in a cramped ghetto then taken by cattletruck to Auschwitz one April morning in 1944. Within 45 minutes she was stripped naked, had her head shaved and was forced into a shower full of terrified young women, clutching a bar of soap she later learned was made of human fat. As they tattooed a prisoner number onto her skin, she was told: “You no longer have a name.” Her parents and younger sisters were taken to gas chambers the same day.

Ibi talked of death, starvation, humiliation, of disease-ridden barracks, stealing a potato and sharing it with others, being surrounded by electric wire, and the terrible stench from the chimneys. But she had no time for hatred. “It is corrosive, it wrecks lives. Hatred has no placed in my vocabulary,” she said.

Shortly after we met, Ibi died, aged 85. I think of her every year on Holocaust Memorial Day, which she saw as an opportunity to remember the past and build cohesion for the future. “Look at what has happened, in Bosnia, Cambodia and Rwanda. We must stand up to hatred as a united force,” she said.

Tomorrow people of various faiths will attend Bradford’s Holocaust Memorial event at City Hall. Candles will be lit for victims of the Holocaust, the Holodomor in Ukraine, the Srebrenica slaughter in Bosnia, and genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur. The theme is Torn from Home; reflecting on the loss, for victims of persecution and genocide, of a safe place to call ‘home’.

Home is a place in time and space, and the people and possessions within. Home is safety, security, privacy, peace. The Nazi regime of curfews, seizing possessions and forcing people out of their properties destroyed these notions of home. And over the years since, many other persecuted communities have fled their homes. Like millions in the Cambodia genocide, Var Ashe Houston was forced from her city to work in the country, and lost hope of ever seeing home again. “The Khmer Rouge ordered us to leave ‘for three hours only’. I left my house with my mother, daughters, sisters and brothers,” she recalled. “Hours passed, then days. We realised this was a trip without return.”

In Rwanda, survivors hid under floorboards and in attics, some for years. “Hiding in someone else’s home was no security - at any moment someone could knock on the door,” said survivor Chantal Uwamahoro.

In Bosnia, many returned to find their homes looted, sold or destroyed. “I was numb when I saw there was nothing left,” said a survivor in Besima.

And so it goes on, with people around the world still seeking a place to call home after being forced to flee theirs.

Bradford has a long history of giving refuge to those in need. After the war many displaced people settled here, including Ibi and her husband, also a Holocaust survivor. In more recent years, families from Syria have found a home here.

I’ve met people who came on the Kindertransport, families who made the long, gruelling journey from Siberian labour camps, a woman who almost starved as a child in the Holodomor, a man from Zimbabwe threatened with death if he ever returned. Each torn from home, they found a new one in Bradford.

* IF you've been driving most of your life, enjoying the freedom and convenience of taking to the road, it can't be easy to let that go. But as motorists grow older, they owe it to other road-users, and themselves, to question whether they're still fit to be behind the wheel.

Last week's road accident involving the Duke of Edinburgh's Land Rover and a car containing two women and a baby has sparked much debate over whether, at 97, the Queen's consort should still be driving.

Maybe there should be regular driving tests for ages 75-plus. Me, I don't intend to still be driving by then. I don't really enjoy driving now, especially on congested city roads, and I'm quite looking forward to tootling around for free on the bus. Forget

MOTs and road tax - bring on the bus pass!

* ACTOR Christian Bale says his mortality is staring him in the face, after putting his body through dramatic transformations for various roles. He was emaciated in The Machinist, bulked up for the Batman movies and is unrecognisably overweight (and likely to win an Oscar) as Dick Cheney in Vice. Why didn't he just wear prosthetics, like 2018 Oscar winner Gary Oldman did playing Churchill in Darkest Hour?

Tortured thespians don't half like to indulge themselves. It's just overpaid acting, love. You're not exactly working the coalface.