As Featured in

Open Country, BBC Radio 4 – 1 November 2018

“This was a really lovely programme, a much needed reminder that amidst all the evidence as to just how awful we can be as a species, humans can also be capable of empathy and kindness”. Sarfraz Manzoor, Pick of the Week, BBC Radio 4.

The story of the Windermere Jewish child Holocaust Survivors was sensitively and sympathetically presented by Helen Mark for Open Country and BBC Radio 4.  The programme included conversations with Trevor Avery, Director of the Lake District Holocaust Project, and  with Sam Laskier and Ike Alterman who talked about their arrival in the Lake District in August 1945.

“The experience in Windermere was tremendous, everyone looked after us wonderfully well”. Sam Laskier, Open Country, BBC Radio 4

“It was just wonderful to see people who actually cared” Ike Alterman, Open Country, BBC Radio 4

Izek Alterman & Sam Laskier at the Lake District Holocaust Project exhibition

Kevin Coulter, from Dalton near Barrow-in Furness became ill with osteomyelitis, a serious bone infection, and was treated in the Ethel Hedley Children’s Hospital near Windermere. He befriended Mendel Preter, one of the Jewish children brought to Windermere, who was a patient in the adjoining bed. Helen Mark spoke to Kevin at the site of the former hospital and he  described how he first met Mendel and some of their conversations both in 1945 and much later when Mendel contacted him by phone from America.

“He told me things which he never told anyone about his family being taken….even now I can’t grasp it”.  Kevin Coulter, Open Country, BBC Radio 4

Kevin Coulter

October 2018
Daily Telegraph – ‘The Hidden History of the Lake District’
BBC Cumbria –  ‘School receives millions of Buttons’

BBC Cumbria

Westmorland Gazette – ‘Lakes Pupils scoop writing awards’


Who Do You Think You Are? – Robert ‘Judge’ Rinder – August 2018

Robert ‘Judge’ Rinder © BBC

We flew to the Lake District where my grandfather convalesced in Windermere with a bunch of other Jewish children. It is the most amazing story about what British communities can do for foreign refugees and the gift they gave”.   Rob Rinder, WDYTYA, BBC 1 – 13 August 2018

Rob Rinder is the grandson of Morris Malenicky and in this episode he traced the contrasting experiences of two of his grandparents who came to the UK in search of a new life.  Morris (Moishe) was one of the Jewish child Holocaust Survivors who arrived in the Lake District in August 1945. He had been subjected to living and working in horrendous conditions in a forced labour camp at Schlieben in Germany, and later at Buchenwald.  He died in London aged 78.

“As I approach Windermere, I imagine what my grandfather Morris would have felt having coming from the dankness and greyness of Schlieben, into this – big sky, and green verdant English loveliness.”  Rob Rinder, WDYTYA, BBC 1 – 13 August 2018

Rob met with Trevor Avery, in the Lake District and together they explored documents which gave some of the background to his time in Windermere and his journey to London.  He was extremely moved to read a letter from Morris to Oscar Friedman, inviting Oscar – one of the main helpers in Windermere –  to his wedding in London.

Morris as a young man

Morris with his wife, Lotte.

Rob as a young boy with his Grandfather

“No one who saw lawyer and TV “judge” Robert Rinder retrace the story of his Holocaust-survivor grandfather Maurice – who lost every member of his family to the gas chambers at Treblinka – could come away anything other than confirmed in the belief that anti-Semitism must be stamped out.” The Telegraph, 14 August 2018.

 July 2018
Westmorland Gazette –  ‘Story of Unique Auschwitz Album goes on show’

Northern Echo – ‘Holocaust Buttons Project Reaches Major Milestone’
Reading Chronicle ‘Holocaust Project reaches milestone’

The Lakes with Paul Rose – Windermere:  BBC Two – October 2018 & BBC North West – July 2018

In the first in a series of four programmes about the Lake District, Paul Rose met with and talked to both Trevor Avery and Arek Hersh, one of the Jewish child Holocaust Survivors who also arrived in the Lake District in August 1945.

Arek in the grounds of the site of the former Calgarth Estate

Arek described how wonderful it was to arrive in such a beautiful place and how the children felt “like we had arrived again”.

“We were young, we were hoping to grow up and have a future and see life as life actually is”.  Arek Hersh, The Lakes, 2018.

Trevor said that even the simple act of an old man raising his cap to them, was unbelievable to the children who had spent many years under threat of death for not taking their own caps off.

 “They were being treated with dignity for the first time in many years. It really was a journey from hell to paradise”.  Trevor Avery, The Lakes, 2018″. 

Arek spoke with some of the children about his experiences at the Lakes School in Windermere.  This school was built on the former site of the Calgarth Estate and Arek, together with his wife Jean, have made an annual visit for many years to talk.

Arek with some of the children at The Lakes School

“Coming from the camps, life didn’t mean very much to certain people, and here I was liberated.  I love this place, always.”  Arek Hersh, The Lakes 2018.

April 2018
Jewish News – ‘Synagogue collects 200,000 buttons for Holocaust Project’

Jewish News

March 2018
Westmorland Gazette – ‘Judge Robert Rinder visits the Lake District to film Who Do You Think You Are’

July 2017
Westmorland Gazette – ‘Holocaust Survivor inspires South Lakeland students’

November 2017
BBC Cumbria – ‘The Lake District Holocaust Project’
Westmorland Gazette – Holocaust Survivor inspires leading textile artist’s new exhibition’

January 2017
ITV News Look Around –  ‘Holocaust Memorial Day – The Lake District Holocaust Project’
ITV Border – 
‘Holocaust Memorial Day – the Lake District Holocaust Project’
Westmorland Gazette – ‘Pupils Create Community Quilt’

Westmorland Gazette

October 2016
Westmorland Gazette – ‘Film shines a light on Holocaust Survivors’

August 2016
Westmorland Gazette – ‘LDHP hosts Ian Walton’s Breath Becomes Air Exhibition’

July 2016
Westmorland Gazette – ‘Rare opportunity to see Memory Quilt’

August 2015
Daily Express
‘Auschwitz Survivors make emotional return to Lake District Village’

The Holocaust Survivors return to the Cumbrian Village. Daily Express

“We came from Hell to Eden.  A place of beauty and quiet”. Sir Ben Helfgott, Daily Express.

Jewish News – Holocaust Survivors to return to the Lake District
Daily Express ‘Untouched – Auschwitz greenhouses where Jewish prisoners grew flowers for the Nazis’

Westmorland Gazette‘Garden helps primary pupils learn about the Holocaust’

Primary School children planting flowers in the Lake District Holocaust Project flower bed. Westmorland Gazette

June 2015
Jewish News
Holocaust Survivors to return to Lake District’

Holocaust Survivor Ben Helfgott, at his home. Jewish News

January 2015
Gov.Uk– ‘Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission Report’
Daily Telegraph – ‘From the Holocaust to Lake Windermere’

Arek Hersh at his home. Daily Telegraph

ITV Granada – ‘The Windermere Boys’ “It’s exactly seventy years this week since surviving prisoners walked to freedom from the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz”

Border Television – ‘Holocaust Memorial Day, Town Hall Kendal’
BBC North West – ‘Holocaust Memorial Day, Town Hall Kendal’
Westmorland Gazette – ‘South Lakeland Remembers Holocaust’

Sir Ben Helfgott with Mayor Evelyn Westwood & Trevor Avery, Director LDHP. Westmorland Gazette

Westmorland Gazette – ‘Holocaust Survivor says he was ‘reborn’ in South Lakeland
“It’s the first place where I escaped the Holocaust. I remember the white tablecloths and the white beds; that’s one of my abiding memories. Everything was drab in the camps, everything was doom and gloom.” Joe Berger

May 2014
Westmorland Gazette – ‘LDHP to share its story with Downing Street’

January 2014
Westmorland Gazette – ‘Children of the Holocaust’
Westmorland Gazette‘Crowds Gather in Kendal to Remember the Holocaust’

At the Birdcage in Kendal. Westmorland Gazette

November 2013
BBC 1 – ‘The Story of the Swastika’
Westmorland Gazette – ‘South Lakes man was one of the Chief Researchers in BBC documentary about the Swastika’
Westmorland Gazette – ‘Paradise Route exhibition graces walls’
September 2013
ITV Border News – ‘Holocaust Survivor speaks in Windermere’

October 2012
Foreign & Commonwealth Office – ‘International Task Force Country Report’

July 2012
Westmorland Gazette – ‘Holocaust Survivors inspire Children’s Paradise Art Project’

Arek Hersh with one of the paintings. Westmorland Gazette

January 2012
BBC 1 The One Show – ‘Trevor Avery & John Sargent – The Sunderland Flying Boats’

August 2011
Lancashire Life – ‘The Inspiring Story of how Windermere helped 300 Jewish Children’

January 2011
ITV Border News – ‘Holocaust Memorial Day – with Sue Bermange and Evelyn Westwood – Kendal Town Hall

April 2010
BBC 1 -‘The Orphans Who Survived the Concentration Camps’

“There is this gentleman in the front garden and he greets me, ‘Good morning, what a beautiful day.’ And it was a beautiful day – it was wonderful.”  Minia Jay, BBC 1

BBC News – ’The Orphans Who Survived the Nazi Camps’
Jewish Chronicle -‘The Children who swapped the death camps for the Lake District’

“It was the first time I had slept on a bed instead of a bunk for more than three years, and even longer since I had seen clean sheets. I can’t remember ever having a better night’s sleep than I enjoyed that first night in Windermere. It was only a hut I was sleeping in, but to me it was a palace.”  Sir Ben Helfgott, BBC 1