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Memorial to man who educated us about Holocaust

PUBLISHED: 12:23 04 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:55 07 September 2010

THE life of a legendary Hampstead Garden Suburb man who worked tirelessly for Holocaust education is being celebrated next week. The memorial event on Thursday will be held in honour of Felek Scharf at the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC)

Katie Davies

THE life of a legendary Hampstead Garden Suburb man who worked tirelessly for Holocaust education is being celebrated next week.

The memorial event on Thursday will be held in honour of Felek Scharf at the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC) in Golders Green.

Mr Scharf was a writer, educator and historian who moved to London from Kracow in 1937. He inspired many with his thoughts on Judaism, history and humanity before his death, aged 89, in September 2003 and contributed to building bridges between Jews and Poland.

The memorial event will include contributions from his friends Trudy Gold from the LJCC and author Anne Karpf.

Ms Gold said: "Felek was one of my mentors. He was in the middle of the European circle here.

"Every intellectual who moved here from Germany, Austria or Poland would meet him at the Cosmos restaurant on the Finchley Road."

Mr Scharf was a member of British military intelligence during the Second World War, where he discovered the horror of the death camps which killed his own father and brother.

His great-grandfather was also a former rabbi of Oswiecim, the place renamed by the Germans and turned into Auschwitz.

In 1997, he published Poland, What Have I To Do With Thee? and wrote extensively on Jews in Poland before the war and his guilt at surviving the Holocaust when so many others perished.

However, one of his greatest works was influencing others. The LJCC was one of the main benefactors, with Scharf inspiring its decision to teach Holocaust education in Poland and set up a cultural centre there.

Ms Gold continued: "Twenty years ago Felek wandered into my classes and life and didn't leave again. He used to teach us about what life was like before the war. He really was Mr Special."

Friends and family will be gathering to discuss the life of Felek Scharf at the LJCC in the memorial event which is open to the public.

It will be held a week before the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising on April 19 and will include an exhibition of photographs of the ghetto taken by Willy Georg and donated to the LJCC by Mr Scharf.

o Tickets, priced £15, are available by calling 020-8457 5000 or from www.ljcc.org.uk.

katie.davies@hamhigh.co.uk

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