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Holocaust Memorial Day: the stories of survivors living in London

Josh Mcloughlin

Today (Jan 27) is Holocaust Memorial Day, with services and events across the city marking the genocide of more than six million jews by the Nazis during World War II.

This year, a new book, 'Survivor – A Portrait of the Survivors of the Holocaust' by award-winning photographer Harry Borden, is published to coincide with the commemorations, 72 years on from WWII. The book, published by Cassell Illustrated, contains stunning portraits of Holocaust survivors, including several who escaped to London in the aftermath of the war.

Here's a selection of Borden's portraits of those who made it London, along with their amazing stories. 

Peter Lantos (pictured above)

Peter Lantos was born in Mako, Hungary, on 22 October 1939. In the summer of 1944, as a child of five, he was deported with his parents, Ilona Somlo (Schwartz) and Sandor Leipniker from Hungary to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. His father died of starvation, while he and his mother survived. After graduating from medicine in Hungary after the war, Lantos was awarded a Wellcome Trust research fellowship to study research methodology at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, London. He arrived with a small suitcase and a few pounds in October 1968.

 Bernd Koshcland

'I was born in Furth, in Bavaria, Germany, on 27 January 1931 and came to England in 1939 on the Kindertransport17, followed a little later by my sister. My father Jacob and my mother Babette (Bella) perished in the Riga ghetto in 1942. On arrival at Southampton I was taken to a hostel in Margate, Kent, where I learned English and went on to primary school. Apart from a short period of evacuation, I lived in another hostel until I left school. I entered Jews’ College in London, trained for the rabbinate and took up my first minister’s appointment at Hounslow Synagogue, west London.'

 Mirjam Finkelstein

Mirjam was born in Berlin, Germany, on June 10 1933, the daughter of the great archivist of the Holocaust, Alfred Wiener, and his wife Margarethe. Though the family emigrated to Holland a year later, within a decade Amsterdam wasn't safe. Just as Alfred obtained visas for the family, the Nazis invaded Holland, and the Finkelstein's were taken to Bergen-Belsen in 1943. Then Mirjam and her family were included in a rare prison swap. 

Her mother stood upright just long enough to be allowed on the exchange, and survived just long enough to see her girls to freedom. On the night of their arrival in Switzerland, she died. Mirjam later settled in London, with husband Ludwik, himself a survivor of Stalin's Siberian prison camps and – in her words – 'we lived happily ever after'.

Eve Kugler

Eve Kugler was born in Germany on January 12 1931. To escape the anti-Semitism of the Nazis, her father applied for a visa to the precursor of the State of Israel but was still waiting on Kristallnacht11 in November 1938 when he was arrested and imprisoned in Germany’s Buchenwald concentration camp20. The Nazis destroyed their synagogue and vandalised his store, smashing its windows and forcing her mother to sweep up the broken glass.

Eve’s mother, Amalia (Mia) Kanner, secured her husband’s release from Buchenwald by procuring and presenting a forged visa to the Nazis and, with great courage, managed the family’s escape to France just before the outbreak of the war in September 1939. Now widowed, Eve lives in London where she is active in Holocaust education, speaking regularly in schools and synagogues, civic organisations and religious groups about her history.

All portraits: Harry Borden

'Survivor - A Portrait of the Survivors of the Holocaust' By Harry Borden is published by Cassell Illustrated, £30. Find more info at

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