Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A Holocaust survivor has praised staff at Peace Hospice Care for giving him support to attend a significant 70 year anniversary reunion to meet comrades, family and friends.

Leaving the comfort of his room in the Inpatient Unit, Alec, aged 88 was able to travel to London for the annual gathering of the 'The Boys and the '45 Aid Society'

More than 640 people, including survivors of concentration camps, ghettos, slave labour camps and death marches and their children and grandchildren came together for the emotional event. It was an occasion Alec did not want to miss.

'The staff at the Hospice have been angels from heaven,' said Alec. 'They can't do enough for me. They are wonderful. All of them. 'Some people may worry about coming to a hospice, but I thought if it's meant to be, maybe I will survive a hospice as well.  Since I have been here, I have been getting better and better.  The food is good, the care is great, I have met so many angels here. They helped me get to this anniversary event and even helped me try and vote in General Election . That was also important to me.'

Alec, who was liberated from Mauthausen  Concentration Camp on May 5th 1945 and survived Ghettos and slave labour camps, has spent many years speaking about his Holocaust survival.

'I was liberated on May 5th 1945.  I stood by the gate of the concentration camp.  Even our clothes had been taken away from us. It was freezing cold. Nine of us, cuddled together on the barracks floor each night, no straw, just bare boards.  In the morning the Americans came, three tanks and soldiers with guns. I was young. The older members of the group told us younger ones what was going on.  We were liberated. It was unbelievable.   I had survived.'

In the summer of 45 Alec came to Southampton, one of 732 young survivors.  He tasted kindness, good food, and fresh white sheets and was 'intoxicated' by freedom and gained strength from the group of survivors who formed 'The Boys 45 Aid Society.'

'Until my dying day I love my adopted country,' he said.

Alec is hoping he will soon be returning home to his wife and family in Hertfordshire to be supported the Peace Hospice Care Hospice at Home team.