Manchester care home residents share Holocaust stories and memories for powerful new exhibition

The care village primarily caters for the Jewish community, having been set up by a refugee who helped Jews fleeing World War II in Europe to settle in Manchester.

The extraordinary stories of Holocaust refugees and a survivor have gone on display in a new exhibition at a Manchester care village.

Belong Morris Feinmann in Didsbury, which caters primarily to the Jewish community, is sharing the stories and memories of half a dozen people living there who remember the Nazis’ inhuman Final Solution.

The exhibition also features a number of beautiful photographs of those who fled Europe before and during World War Two and now call Manchester their home.

The display has been put up in the care village’s synagogue, and is available for people to go and see.

What is the Holocaust exhibition at Belong Morris Feinmann?

The exhibition at Belong Morris Feinmann honours the experiences of the six people at the Didsbury care facility who contributed and the millions of Jewish people who were persecuted by the Nazis across Europe.

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Frances Waldek, 100, 98-year-old Gisela Feldman BEM, Frania Strauss, 97, 96-year-old Sonja Sternberg BEM), Hans Rose, 94, and 91-year-old Peter Mittler, each provided their own words about life during that traumatic era and the struggles they faced.

Their remarkable stories, some handwritten, accompany poignant portraits which have been prominently displayed for posterity.

Former academic at The University of Manchester Mr Mittler, for example, was just eight years old when he fled Nazi-occupied Austria to the UK following the devastation of Kristallnacht, the infamous Night of Broken Glass which saw violent anti-Jewish demonstrations across the continent.

Peter Mittler. Photo: Gwen Riley Jones

He went on to build a distinguished career, heading up the country’s first research centre for special educational needs, and more recently he has championed the rights of people living with dementia.

The initiative, which has been supported with a generous contribution from The Feinmann Trust, was inspired by The Prince of Wales commissioning leading artists to paint seven Holocaust survivors for an exhibition at Buckingham Palace earlier this year.

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The photographs for the Belong exhibition were taken by Gwen Riley Jones.

What has been said about the exhibition and can I visit it?

Belong Morris Feinmann said the specific history of the care village and its association with refugees fleeing Jewish persecution on the continent, made this a particularly special project for the facility to work on.

The care village says the exhibition is also here for people who want to view it to do so.

Angela Luckett, religious and cultural coordinator at Belong Morris Feinmann who spearheaded the project, said: “The Holocaust touches the lives of all of us and the foundations of our care village were borne out of our plight, having been originally set-up by Jewish refugee Morris Feinmann to help those fleeing Europe in WWII and settle here in Manchester.

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Residents at Belong Morris Feinmann shared their memories and stories for the new Holocaust exhibition. Photo: Gwen Riley Jones

“We’re very passionate about preserving history and that is the aim of the project, to document an important part of our story and to educate future generations.

“We shared a wonderful L’chaim with family and friends for the unveiling of the portraits. It was very moving and it’s important that no-one forgets our past – we invite everyone from the community to come and have a look.”

L’chaim is a toast meaning “to life” which has become an important custom in the Jewish religion and culture.

The Holocaust exhibition can be viewed at Belong Morris Feinmann. Contact the care village on 0161 804 4200 for more information or to arrange a visit.