Sir Ben Helfgott

‘My Holocaust experiences may have hardened me, made me more realistic about human nature, but I was repelled by the evil I witnessed.

I despaired, but I did not let cruelty and injustice break my spirit.

I refused to poison my life with revenge and hatred for hatred is corrosive.

Instead I was left with a dream – to live in a world of understanding, compassion, fraternity and love for my fellow man.

In spite of the fact that I have diligently pursued my career, sporting activities and social engagements, I have always been conscious of my responsibility to preserve the memory of those who have perished in such a barbarous way.

It has always been my mantra to promote Holocaust education and remembrance and to encourage others to do the same. It is gratifying to see that in recent years many institutions throughout the world have been established with this as their goal.

I must emphasise that I have never been obsessed with the Holocaust.

Had I been, I would have failed my parents and society.

All my adult life, I have striven to overcome bigotry and racial prejudice brought about by ignorance, and intolerance. To this purpose, I spend most of my time promoting research, education and remembrance of the Holocaust in the hope that the lessons of the Holocaust may be learned and understood.

I believe that the Holocaust, which established the standard for absolute evil, is the universal heritage of all civilised people. The lessons of the Holocaust must form the cultural code for education toward humane values, democracy, human rights, tolerance and opposition to racism and totalitarian ideologies.’

Sir Ben Helfgott

Ruth-Anne Lenga with Sir Ben Helfgott at the Centre’s Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration in January 2018

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