Even in these, your twilight years, you are a giant amongst men, Dad.

Which is why Frances and I wanted to create this blog for you. To celebrate in joy that you are here with us on your 80th birthday. To be able to tell you, with the sun shining on your face, that we love, honour and respect you. To tell you how proud we are of what you have overcome and what you have achieved. To tell you how proud we are of you, for giving hope and help to all the thousands of young learners you have inspired.

Too much of your life is held in silent archives and darkened boxes. Too much will never again see the light of day. Too much will remain merely as historical record. We wanted you to proudly and powerfully stand, as a survivor, in the virtual world, forever. We wanted this page to live on, in deferent respect to the memory of your family that was lost and to all those countless others whose lost lives must not fade from memory and to the one a half million children who lost their lives and weren’t able to bring their contribution to humanity. We wanted your voice to be able ring out, forever, on the web, to recite Kaddish for your lost family and for all the families, long after we have all returned to Hashem.


In 2007, at a report back session by some students who had been a part of the Lesson from Auschwitz Project, an evening put on by the Holocaust Educational Trust at the Imperial War Museum, I asked, in light of everything that had happened related to The Shoah over the last decades, if it was enough?

Was it enough that so much has been done by so many to ensure that those lost in the Holocaust will never be forgotten; that its lessons will be always shared and taught into the future. That it will not all have been in vain and that it cannot be denied nor ignored?
Was there anything more that you felt needed to be done?

You mentioned that despite all the days of remembrance, sadly the one outstanding day, yet to be established, is a remembrance day within our own Jewish, religious calendar and written into our own prayer books and enshrined as a part of our own story, for generations to come.

…And then you simply gazed into infinity and, with a half smile, and that indomitable twinkle in your rheumy eyes, said, to no one in particular…..

“Buchenwald to Buckingham Palace… quite a journey…”

– Mark Perl

Josef Perl's book,
Faces in the Smoke

A letter from Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks.