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Sir Erich Reich's letter to the Prime Minister
Dear Mr Cameron,
As a former child refugee, who was rescued on the Kindertransport, I urge you to commit the United Kingdom to once again demonstrate its humanitarian compassion by providing a safe haven to the children fleeing persecution in war-torn Syria.
Without the intervention and determination of many people who are of many faiths, I – along with some 10,000 others – would have perished. I strongly believe that we must not stand by, while the oppressed need our help. We cannot ignore the sight of desperate people and in such a crisis we must act to save the most vulnerable refugees: the children, and provide them with the same sanctuary I, along with others, was fortunate to receive.
Although the circumstances surrounding the current refugee crisis are notably different to the persecution the Jewish people of Europe endured under the Nazis before and during the Holocaust, the words of MP Philip Noel Baker echo loudly from the debate he instigated in Parliament in November 1938.
“I beg to move, that this House notes with profound concern the deplorable treatment suffered by certain racial, religious and political minorities [in Europe], and, in view of the growing gravity of the refugee problem would welcome an immediate concerted effort amongst the nations, including the United States of America, to secure a common policy,” he said.
From humble, unfamiliar and uncertain beginnings, many of my fellow Kinder turned adversity into triumph and went on to leave a rich legacy to their adopted homeland. Given the same opportunity, some of the refugees we help today could equally make invaluable contributions to British society, and we would be able to take great pride in taking the lead to perform our moral duty.
As we approach the Jewish New Year, it is my fervent wish that we offer a new hope to a new generation of child refugees.
Sir Erich Reich