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Local tree planting will honour Holocaust refugees who fled to Britain

A network founded in 1941 to support refugees escaping Nazi-occupied Europe, is launching a new campaign called 80 Trees for 80 Years.

The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) provides social and welfare services to Holocaust refugees and survivors nationwide. About 70,000 refugees, including approximately 10,000 children on the Kindertransport, fled to Great Britain in the 1930s.

Children of Polish Jews arriving in London. Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S69279 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

To mark its eightieth year, the AJR will be planting 80 native oak trees around Britain in honour of people and places that symbolise the enormous contribution made to every walk of British life by refugees who escaped the Nazi regime.

Locally, the Bath and North East Somerset Faith Foundation has been chosen as a partner organisation to support the campaign. Councillor Sarah Bevan is the foundation’s Patron and the daughter of a survivor of the Holocaust. She said:

We’re pleased to be working with the Association of Jewish Refugees on this important initiative.
Jewish refugees have contributed enormously to British life since first arriving here over 80 years ago, and so to have Bath & North East Somerset selected as one of the locations where an oak tree will be planted is immensely humbling.

The Oak Tree will be planted on Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January 2022, as part of a full day of commemorative events around the local authority.

Director of the B&NES Faith Foundation, Nathan Hartley, said:

We’ve chosen Peasedown St John as the location for the planting of our commemorative Oak Tree. Each of the 80 trees is being sponsored by a family of one of the refugees that fled to the UK from a Nazi-occupied country during World War II.
The Faith Foundation has always worked hard to raise awareness of the deadly events of the Holocaust. With a recent increase in hate crimes, particularly anti-Semitism, the work of organisations like the Faith Foundation and the AJR has never been more important!

Founded by Jewish refugees from Central Europe, the Association of Jewish Refugees today extends membership to anyone who fled a Nazi-occupied country as a Jewish refugee or who arrived in Great Britain as a Holocaust survivor.

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