U.K. Establishes Fund to Record Testimonies of Holocaust Survivors

Fund announced at ceremony honoring three British POWs who saved a Jewish girl from death during the Holocaust.

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Sara Rigler, second from right, with some of her saviors long after the war.
Sara Rigler, second from right, with some of her saviors long after the war.Credit: Yad Vashem

The British government has initiated a £1.5 million ($2.23 million) package to safeguard the memories of Holocaust survivors for future generations, the Jewish Chronicle reported.

Announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, the initiative includes a project to record and digitally preserve the stories of Holocaust survivors who have not yet given their testimony. An emergency pilot program will record the memories of the most elderly survivors before the summer.

The new pledge supplements the £50 million previously committed as seed money for the creation of a national Holocaust memorial, a learning center and an education endowment fund. All three were key recommendations of the Holocaust Commission set up by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Pickles made the announcement at a ceremony in London honoring British Holocaust heroes.

During the ceremony, the families of three former prisoners of war, William Fisher, Edwin Hambling and Bill Keeble, received Hero of the Holocaust medals for their part in rescuing a Jewish girl in Nazi-occupied Poland.

The three were among a group of 10 British POWs who smuggled Lithuanian-born Sara Rigler, 15, into the Gross Golmkau camp after she escaped from a death march outside Danzig.

"In the midst of the darkest days of human history, William Fisher, Edwin Hambling and Bill Keeble and their fellow prisoners of war, were shining beacons of hope," Pickles said.

“At a great risk to themselves they showcased the very best of British values – tolerance, respect and compassion – to save the life of a stranger.

“Their greatest legacy is the long and full life that Sara Rigler has enjoyed but I hope that this medal will help ensure that their acts of bravery, in risking their lives for others, will never be forgotten."

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