Pinchas Gutter

Pinchas Gutter

Pinchas Gutter was born in the early 1930’s in Lodz, Poland. The family then moved to Warsaw where they ended up in the ghetto. After the ghetto uprising, the family were transported to Majdanek concentration camp. Pinchas spent the rest of the war in several different work and concentration camps, until he was liberated by the Russians. He was then brought from Theresienstadt to Windermere in England as one of ‘The Boys’. After further travels he settled in South Africa where he worked in finance and raised his family, eventually retiring to Canada.

The square for Pinchas refers important themes in his life. These include the importance of family, memories of life before the war, his love of music, his ongoing commitment to Israel, Jewish life and Holocaust education. Pinchas is a much loved husband, father and grandfather, who is generous to friends, family and community, and an inspiration to many who have encountered him over the years.

Tanya Gutter

Jack Hecht

Jack Hecht

Jack (Jacob) Hecht (b. May 14, 1929) has a strong life force and gusto even now in his mid 80s. His grandsons Josh and Noah Hecht wanted to make the quilt patch a tribute to his geographical journey as he crossed Europe in severe hardship—to show the many miles he travelled from his home in Ruscova, Romania, and the stops he made through several camps as the Nazis neared the end of the war. Yellow felt has been used to recall the yellow badges that Jews were made to wear to identify them, but this time it is a badge of pride. Survivor! On the quilt patch, Jack is shown doing his trademark exuberant dancing as he celebrates freedom.

Jack’s early life was on a large family farm in the Carpathian Mountains where he was the 7th of 8 children in a religious family until the Hungarian Army first stopped them from attending school and then forced the family to abandon their property. He was held at the Viseu de Sus ghetto, a gateway for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he was then encamped with 3 brothers who worked the stone quarries and trains (they called themselves ‘The Brake Boys’) and moved westward to other work camps by the Nazi’s quest to build roads. Jack was liberated (with one younger brother, Martin) from the Death March in 1945 and walked to Munich, where he was rehabilitated at Kloster Indersdorf. He was transported by air to Southampton in the UK with The Boys. He lived for a time in Salford, then made his way to London, where he met his wife Maureen and had a daughter (Nina) and a son (Sam), both named after perished family members.

Jack is a proud member of The Boys and his social life has always been filled with his long-standing friendships with many of his fellow survivors.

Kim, Colin, Josh and Noah Hecht

Martin Hecht

Martin Hecht

I was born in Ruscova, Romania in 1931. During the spring of 1944, together with my parents and brothers and sister we were sent to the ghetto of Viseu de Sus. After a few weeks we were transported to Auschwitz. After the separation from my parents (they died in the gas chambers), my brothers and I were sent to several slave labour camps, then to the concentration camp Flossenbürg, followed by death marches. I was liberated in 1945 and sent for rehabilitation to Indersdorf near Dachau, Bavaria.

After a few months, I was transferred to England to a hostel in Manchester. I then eventually moved to London.

The square shows me has a young boy after the war and my favourite football team, Arsenal!

Martin Hecht

Roman Halter


Roman Halter was born in 1927 in the little town of Chodecz, Poland, the youngest of seven children. When the Second World War broke out he was 12. From 1940 until the spring of 1945 he was in the Lodz ghetto, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Stutthof concentration camps and then was in a slave labour in a factory in Dresden. Early in 1945 he escaped a death march and was hidden by a German couple on the outskirts of Dresden till the Liberation.

Along with other young survivors, “The Boys,” he was brought to England in 1945. Roman went on to study architecture and always painted incredible pictures. This painting for the quilt was from his memory of his grandparents and shows the haunting eyes amidst the beautiful vibrant colours that the Impressionists loved to use.

Roman is well known for his stained glass windows that can be seen at Alyth Gardens Synagogue, Central Synagogue, Sternberg Synagogue, Beth Shalom, and Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. His 10 Holocaust paintings are now in the collection of the Imperial War Museum.

Aviva Halter-Hearn

Ben Helfgott

I have been absorbed with many charitable activities for many years but none of them have been more important to me than my involvement with the ’45 Aid Society. I am so very proud of all that The Boys have achieved.

The quilt honours my parents Moishe and Sara Helfgott and my younger sister Lusia, all of whom perished in the Holocaust. Included in the square are my parents, sister Mala, wife Arza, three sons Maurice, Michael and Nathan, their wives Danielle, Thea and Laura, and my grandchildren Sam, Alex, Nicky, Lucy, Amy, Jessica, Reuben, Oscar and Noah. Incredibly, despite all that my family suffered in the Holocaust, here in 2015 are three generations of the Helfgott family. To me this is “triumph over adversity”.

I was born on 22 Nov 1929 in Pabianice and grew up in the town of Piotrkow, Poland. Between the years of 1939 – 1942 I lived in the Piotrkow ghetto with my family. In 1942 I was working in the Hortensia Glass Factory in the Piotrkow ghetto and then in DitrichFischer (Bugaj). In Dec 1944 I was sent to Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Germany followed by Schlieben and Theresienstadt concentration camps. I was liberated from Theresienstadt by the Russian Army and brought to England in Aug 1945 where I started a new life in Windermere. I was lucky enough to attend Plaistow Grammar and pass A level exams before going to Southampton University in 1949.I had always been strong and was a very good gymnast as a young boy. In 1948 I discovered weightlifting by chance and by 1950 I was good enough to enter the Maccabiah games and I won a gold medal. I then went on to win the British Weightlifting Lightweight Championship and was British Champion from 1954 to 1960, going on to become Captain of the British Weightlifting team at the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956. In 1958 I was the Bronze weightlifting medallist at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. In 1960 I was Captain of the British Weightlifting team at the Olympic Games in Rome.

All my adult life I have spoken openly about the important lessons to be learned from what happened in the Holocaust. My purpose has been that all people should better understand and fight against the destructive forces of intolerance, discrimination and prejudice. In 1994 I received the Polish Knights Cross of the Order of Merit, in 2005 the Commanders Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. I was also honoured to receive the Honorary Fellowship of the University of Cumbria in 2014. In 2015 I received the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award in recognition of outstanding individual volunteers and in January this year I was made Freeman of the City of London.

Ben Helfgott M.B.E., D. Univ Southampton, D. Litt UCL

Abraham Herman

Abraham Herman

Abraham Herman was born on 16th February 1931 in Mukačevo in Transcarpathian Ruthenia, at the time, part of Czechoslovakia. He was the youngest child of Chaim and Rosza (Rachel – née Braun).In 1938, the region was occupied by Hungary. In April 1944, after the German army invaded Hungary, the Jews of Mukačevo were forced into ghettos, and in May 1944, when Abe was just 13, they were deported to Auschwitz. In the winter of 1944/45, as the allies advanced, Abe was forced to go on two “death marches” – the first from Auschwitz to Buchenwald. From there, he was taken to work in Rehmsdorf, where he found his brother, David. They joined forces on the second death march to Theresienstadt, eating grass on the way, and then getting stomach cramps and each, in turn, wanting to give up and sit down, which would have resulted in their being shot by an SS guard. But David and Abe did not allow each other to give up. They were liberated in Theresienstadt in May 1945.

After liberation, Abe spent six months in a castle in Stijine, near Prague, where children who had survived the holocaust, were being rehabilitated. He then joined his eldest brother, Zruli, at a DP camp in Munich where they were preparing to go to Palestine. In Munich, Abe accessed two lots of food rations, and would exchange food items for private piano and violin lessons. After a year in Munich, instead of going to Palestine, my father joined his brother, David, who had gone to England. Soon afterwards, he discovered that his sister, Miriam, had survived; she went to live in the newly-founded state of Israel.

In England, Abe qualified as an architect, and designed our first house, of which his preliminary drawing appears in the square. The hazelnut twig created by Abe’s eldest granddaughter, Hava, commemorates his fondness of eating his favourite nuts! Abe married Israeli Hava, and together they had four children. Although he didn’t know it while he was alive, Abe now has eleven grandchildren. He died in 1989, at the age of 58.

Marilyn Herman

David Herman

tbmq-156David was born on 6th September 1926 in Munkacs, Czechoslovakia. In April 1944 he was transported to Auschwitz, separated from his family, and then taken to Buchenwald where this black and white photograph was taken of him in prison uniform aged 17 – it is the earliest photograph we have. He survived slave labour in Gleina and Rhemsdorf and miraculously met up with his younger brother, Abe. They kept each other alive on the harrowing death march to Theresienstadt where they were liberated. More than 40 members of the extended Herman family were lost in the camps, but amazingly all three of David’s siblings survived.

From an orphanage, Belgická 25, in Prague, David came to Montford Hall in Lancashire in March 1946 with other Boys for rehabilitation, before moving to London to start again. In 1954 David married Olive, his inspiration and the love of his life, and they built a new family.

We all discussed what to include in the square and Julia brought our ideas to life. The Carpathian mountains and the Latorica river form the backdrop to an idyllic childhood. The pear and walnuts are from stories of David’s childhood – many revolved around climbing trees. The roots of the walnut tree are intertwined with the names of David’s grandparents, parents and three siblings. David and Olive’s names are inscribed on the trunk, their children and families’ names on the leaves, along with jewels. David said his four children were his jewels, his ten grandchildren were his diamonds.David’s grandfather owned a brick factory, represented by the brick border containing names of family members who perished and words representing David’s interests and things he loved – sculpture, chess, backgammon, swimming, sunshine, nuts, bagels, gnocchi, Israel, The Boys.
On the right, David is seated behind a chess board waiting for Abe to make his next move. On the left are sketches of his designs for Herwa Fashions, the company he built with Olive. David was incredibly artistic and a genius with scissors, cutting designs first out of paper which were then sketched.
Whenever he walked into a room, he always used to say: “Hello, you lucky people!”

Charles, Rosalind (Gelbart), Julia (Burton) and Paul Herman

Samuel Holckiener


Samuel Hilton (Holckiener) was born September 23 1929 in Warsaw, Poland, so the square has a background map of Poland. He came from a large family and they had a Tannery Business. When he was about 11 years old, the war broke out. His mother and sister were taken to the gas chambers. Sam and his father fought in the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Then they were caught and sent to camps and his father Joseph died in Sam’s arms from shrapnel wounds. Sam was in several camps and was liberated in Theresienstadt. From there the children were sent to England for rehabilitation. Sam was at Windermere in the Lake District. He stayed in England for about 2 years. Then he went to the US to stay with an aunt and uncle in Los Angeles for a short time. He joined the Air Force where he served for 8 years. After that he went to college, got a Master’s degree and became a CPA.We married in 1957 and had two sons followed by four grandchildren. His family was always Number One to him. The lower photo shows Sam with his 2 sons, Steven and David. I think it was taken on his 75th birthday. The other photos are our grandchildren, Shari, Eva, Harrison and Natalie.

He loved to read World History books. He spoke to the schools in our area about his experiences. He did not have any hobbies but loved to talk and tell jokes. He also enjoyed travelling. We celebrated our 50th Anniversary together on 22nd December 2007. Sam passed away in 2008 from pancreatic cancer, he was only ill for 6 weeks.

Marion Hilton

Alfred Huberman


My father, Abram Huberman (Alfred) was born in Pulawy, Poland, in December. He was taken to the ghetto and went through 5/6 camps: Skarzysko-Kamienna, Czestochow, Buchenwald, Rhemsdorf, Leitmeritz and Theresienstadt until he was finally liberated in Theresienstadt.He was brought to England in 1945 and eventually started a new life in Brighton.
The square represents a lost family. These are my aunts and my dad. Only Yidis and my father Abram survived. Frandl, Rivka, Tzirl (twins) and Perl did not.

Maurice Huberman

Zdenka Husserl

Zdenka Husserl

I, Zdenka Husserl (born Zdenka Husserlova), was born on 6th February 1939 in Prague, Czechoslovakia and my parents were Pavel and Helena (Fischerova) Husserlova. On October 10th 1941, when I was just 2 ½ years old, my father was deported to the Lodz ghetto, where he died a year later. Following his deportation, my mother brought me back to her hometown of Zdikov to live with her mother and uncle. We remained there for one year before being sent to Terezin in November 1942. My mother was subsequently deported to Auschwitz on October 19th 1944, where she died at the age of 34. I was just 3 years old. I remained in Terezin until liberation on 8th May 1945.

On 15th August 1945 I was one of the youngest children on a transport of 300 child survivors brought to England sponsored by the British philanthropist, Leonard Montefiore. I was 6½. I was looked after in Weir Courtney in Lingfield, Surrey for 3 years by a wonderful of team of women. My new life started when I moved to Isleworth at the age of 13.

I went back to Czechosolovakia in 1987 and I met up with 2 step aunts. At that time my biggest question was whether a photograph of my mother existed? It took two years for one of my aunts to search the village where I was born to see if anyone had a photograph. Sure enough, there was a girl, whose mother had recently died, who looked through her mother’s photograph collection and found this very photograph. Fortunately, my aunt Slavka recognised my mother in the photograph and realised what a treasure it was. She sent it to me on Christmas Eve 1989 in a Christmas card. When I opened it I was numb with shock, but couldn’t cry. I sat in a chair for a minute to take it all in. When the opportunity came up to make a square for the Memory Quilt – the first thing I thought of was this special photograph. This has been stitched with love into my square together with a white peace rose planted on my behalf at Beth Shalom.