UK: 6 Holocaust victims, including a child, buried in London after spending decades in a museum

The remains of six unknown Jews, including a child, murdered by Nazis in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Polish death camp were buried Sunday morning at a Jewish cemetery in London, after spending decades in a museum archive.

The remains of the five adults and a child were stored in the archives of the Imperial War Museum (IWM) since the late 1990s before recently being handed back to the Jewish community as part of a collaboration between the museum and the chief rabbi.

Around 50 Holocaust survivors joined hundreds of other members of the Jewish community at the United Synagogue New Cemetery in Bushey, Hertfordshire, for the funeral service.

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The ashes and bones of the six unknown victims were sent from Auschwitz to the Imperial War Museum in London in 1997.

Scientific tests later discovered they were five adults and one child, but nothing else is known about them.

The funeral service was the first for Holocaust victims to be held in the UK.

‘We don’t know who you are, we don’t know if you’re male or female, we don’t know which country you’re from, but one thing we do know; you were a Jewish and brutally murdered,’ Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis began by saying.

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‘You were let down badly at the time and now your remains have somehow come to the UK. And we have the opportunity of granting you the dignity and honor of a funeral service.’

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After a 40-minute service a small coffin, which held the remains of all six victims, was carried to its plot where it was buried with earth from Israel. The survivors and other mourners lined up to throw earth on to the coffin.

A wider Holocaust memorial will be built around the grave site and the hope is that it will play a similar role to the Grave of the Unknown Soldier; a place where people can come to remember the millions of people who lost their lives in the Holocaust.

 

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