Film fulfils child’s promise to Holocaust survivor ​Leon

Leon Greenman

Leon Greenman - Credit: Archant

A history student has made a film about the life of Auschwitz survivor Leon Greenman - fulfilling a promise he hade to the Holocaust victim when he was only seven years old.

Joshua Rocker

Joshua Rocker - Credit: Archant

Joshua Rocker, now 19, of Hendon, met Mr Greenman at the Jewish Museum as a child and during their conversation promised to keep his story alive by telling it to others.

That vow has been in his mind ever since and he has finally carried out Mr Greenman’s wishes by making a documentary about him.

The Kings College London student’s film “Leon Greenman - Survivor” was screened to a sold-out audience at the Jewish Museum, in Albert Street, last Sunday ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day 2018 this weekend.

Joshua, who did an internship at the Jewish Museum during his gap year decided to make the film in March.

Filmmaker Joshua Rocker tells pupils about Leon Greeman on a school trip to Auschwitz. Photo: JOSHUA

Filmmaker Joshua Rocker tells pupils about Leon Greeman on a school trip to Auschwitz. Photo: JOSHUA ROCKER - Credit: Archant

He said: “I wanted to keep the promise I made to him as a child. Because I didn’t have any funding for the film, I put the money I had earned on my gap year towards it.”

The student, who went on a trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau as a sixth former, said: “I remember speaking to my friends about Leon by the ruins of the crematoria in Auschwitz-Birkenau, The Holocaust has always been very important to me because of my relationship with Leon,

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“He was special because he gave his first educational talk only a year after he was liberated, and he didn’t just speak about his experiences but also went on marches and demonstrations against the far right.”

Leon Greenman, who died in 2008 at the aged of 97, was living in the Netherlands at the time of Nazi occupation and was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau with wife Else and son Barney who were murdered upon arrival.

Leon survived 18 months of concentration and labour camps and made a promise to tell his story to the outside world. A promise he kept from 1946 until his death

Leon ended up in Buchenwald when it was liberated. He arrived in the UK in November 1945.

From 1946 Leon began speaking about his experiences. In February 1998 Leon received an OBE.

Joshua said: “I’m seeking advice about how the film might best be used, and exploring the possibility of arranging more screenings.”