TREES will be planted in Bradford and Ilkley on Holocaust Memorial Day to commemorate hostels for Jewish refugee children.

Bradford's Holocaust Memorial event, on Thursday, will also pay tribute to Rudi Leavor, the late chairman of the city's synagogue, who fled Nazi Germany aged 11.

The online event will be shown from City Hall from 10am, with a welcome by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Shabir Hussain.

Suzie Cree from Bradford Synagogue will lead a tribute to Rudi Leavor, who came to Bradford with his parents and sister in 1937, after fleeing their home in Berlin. Mr Leavor became chairman of Bradford Synagogue and in 2017 received the BEM for his interfaith work in the city.

He wrote about growing up in Nazi Germany in his memoir, My Story. In 2020 he told the T&A about his journey to the UK by boat. He said: “Not everyone was so lucky. A family who stood on the platform as we left Berlin had a tragic end. Hans, a friend of mine, later received a message that Jews were being rounded up and his family, with many others, were on lorries. He discovered later they had ultimately boarded a train to a forest. Those who survived the journey were made to stand at the edge of a wide trench and were machine gunned into it.”

Thursday's event will also include a tribute to Lilian Black, former chair of the Trustees of the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association and the Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre at Huddersfield University. Lilian's Hungarian father was sent to Auschwitz in 1944, he survived and came to the UK. Nigel Grizzard, who leads Jewish heritage tours in Bradford, will pay tribute to Lilian, who died of Covid in 2020.

Also on Thursday, the Association of Jewish Refugees is holding a tree-planting ceremony in Lister Park to commemorate the Bradford Jewish Refugee Hostel. And Ilkley Civic Society will plant trees and unveil a blue plaque at Belle Vue Gardens in the town to commemorate Loxleigh, a property on Cowpasture Road used as a hostel for Jewish children escaping Nazi Europe.

In March 1939 a group of 24 boys arrived at a large house in Manningham, after travelling across Europe on the Kindertransport, which brought 10,000 Jewish children to safety. The Manningham hostel, which later became the Carlton Hotel, was set up by Oswald Stroud, founder of Drummonds Mill.

Albert Waxman came to the hostel aged 14. Speaking to the T&A In 2012, aged 87, he recalled his home in Germany invaded by SS officers in the Kristallnacht night of terror in 1938. "We fled to the attic. When we came down, everything was smashed up, " he recalled. His family was sent to Poland but a passport mix-up saved them and he was sent to the UK on the Kindertransport.

The boys at the Bradford hostel attended Drummond School to learn English. Mr Waxman recalled playing cricket, visiting people's homes for tea and going to the cinema. At the end of the war he discovered his family were living under false names in Paris. He was the only boy in Bradford's refugee hostel whose parents both survived the Holocaust.

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