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Hope and respect

30 January 2015

DURING January, Alsop High School, the largest secondary school in Liverpool, with 1800 pupils, has been hosting the Anne Frank Trust exhibition to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz.

The month-long exhibition is intended to promote respect and challenge prejudice, and it was declared open by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes. The Bishop spoke about hope, and placed a stone inscribed "Hope" from Liverpool Cathedral next to six lanterns, lit to commemorate the six million Jews who perished under the Nazi regime.

Also at the ceremony were the RC Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Tom Williams; the chairman of the Merseyside Jewish Council, Ian Cohen; and the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Erica Kemp.

A highlight of the event was when the Head Boy of Alsop, Josh Ferris, who had visited Auschwitz, introduced 84-year-old Zigi Shipper (centre), a survivor of the camp. He came from a Jewish family in Lodz, Poland, and in 1940 he and his grandparents were forced to move into the Lodz ghetto. He managed to remain there until 1944, when, as a teenager, he was in a group that was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and then on to a concentration camp near Danzig, where people were starving and freezing to death.

The Russians were advancing; so the camp inhabitants were forced on a death march that, for Mr Shipper, ended in Neustadt, where he was liberated by the British Army on 3 May 1945. The next year he came to England, married in 1954, and now has two daughters, six grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.

Since coming to England, he says, he has had "a wonderful life". But, he went on, "We must not forget the six million Jews who perished, and we must not forget the other people who also perished in the Holocaust. We must never forget, so that it doesn't happen again."

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