Every year Jewish people throughout the world come together to commemorate the loss of six million Jews who were murdered in the Shoah. That memory is often overshadowed by the cruelty and horrors of the concentration camps but parallel to this are the accounts of some Jews who survived through adversity and great acts of bravery. The Glasgow Jewish Community’s annual Holocaust Memorial Event, Yom HaShoah, took place this year on Sunday 7th April 2013 at 8.00pm in the Banqueting Suite of Giffnock & Newlands Hebrew Congregation and the programme theme this year was “Voices from the Ghetto” focuses on such stories.
On that evening we commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. This single event signalled the united Jewish resistance against the Nazis and this is thought to be a crucial turning point during the war for the Jewish people. We honoured those who fought and died during the uprising and those who survived to tell the tale. We also learnt about an amazing set of archives that were discovered in the 1950s buried in the remains of the ghetto. Emanuel Ringelblum was the archivist who secretly compiled testimonials from 1940-1943 and created a unique documentary record comprising over 35,000 pages.
We also remembered Michael Sankie, who passed away last September age 84. Affectionately known as “Sankie the tailor” he forged a life for himself in Glasgow after the war. His experiences during the ghetto are haunting and also full of hope. It is amazing that we have a photograph of him from that time taken by a German “tourist”. He is survived by his two daughters, Shirley and Rosalind, his son-in-law Paul, his grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
We thank our youth participants for their enthusiasm and participation and Calderwood Lodge Primary School Primary 7 for their poignant artistic renderings. We also thank the Glasgow Jewish Singers under the direction of Mr Eddie Binnie, Mr Ian Leifer, and Prof Lev Atlas for their wonderful musical contributions and UJIA (Scotland), Jewish Youth Fund (Scotland) and East Renfrewshire Council for their continued support.