Holocaust survivor praises ‘kindness’ in speech a day before 90th birthday 

Ivor Perl BEM with his granddaughter Lia Bratt at Jewish Care's Young Patrons Dinner

Ivor Perl BEM, a member of Jewish Care's Holocaust Survivors' Centre, with his granddaughter Lia Bratt at Jewish Care's Young Patrons Dinner - Credit: Grainge Photography

A dinner which raised £150,000 for Jewish Care was graced with a moving speech by a holocaust survivor, the day before his 90th birthday. 

Golders Green-based Ivor Perl BEM, who turned 90 earlier this month, gave the speech at Jewish Care’s Young Patrons Dinner, its first such event in two years. 

Held at the Londoner in Leicester Square, it was the organisation’s biggest Young Patrons Dinner yet with 450 young people in attendance. The money it raised is going towards funding the organisation’s services. 

Jewish Care is the largest health and social care organisation providing support to the Jewish community in London and the south east. It runs more than 70 centres and services, and says it reaches 10,000 people every week. 

Ivor, who is a member of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivor’s Centre, was liberated from Auschwitz in 1945 at just 13, where much of his family, including his parents, had died. 

In his speech, he said: “I was young and scared. I couldn’t speak a word of English, a stranger in a country that was so far away from my home in Hungary, and I desperately missed my family.  

“Alone and in despair, it was the predecessor of Jewish Care, the Jewish Welfare Board, which took me in. I don’t know what I would have done without them.  

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“They gave me somewhere to live, fed me and taught me a trade I learnt for life. They gave me a start in life and showed me such warmth, support and Jewish Care when I needed them the most.  

“I will never forget the kindness they showed me. They were my family.” 

Members of Jewish Care's Young Patrons Committee with Ivor Perl BEM of Jewish Care's Holocaust Survivors' Centre

Members of Jewish Care's Young Patrons committee with Ivor Perl. From left to right: Daniel Dangoor, Emma Gold, Ivor Perl, Nicole Grossman, and Rob Sher - Credit: Grainge Photography

While saying money will not change everything, or bring back back his late wife Rhoda, Ivor said “money does enable Jewish Care to continue to be there for people like me and to offer us support and love, and now, more than ever, I really believe that we all need love, which myself and others get in abundance from Jewish Care’ staff and volunteers”. 

Rob Sher, chair of Young Jewish Care, said: “It’s fantastic to see a record breaking 450 people here tonight after two years without the Young Patrons Dinner.  

“Whether guests were hearing about Jewish Care for the first time or are already a young patron, volunteer, or part of a committee, we are so grateful for their generous contributions.”