War victims to whom we owe a debt

Chris Carter FOR much of Europe the outbreak of World War Two on September 3, 1939 was somewhat of an anti-climax. During the months after the declaration many referred to the phoney war . In Britain Chamberlain s announcement had been met with trepidation, but those

Chris Carter

FOR much of Europe the outbreak of World War Two on September 3, 1939 was somewhat of an anti-climax.

During the months after the declaration many referred to the "phoney war". In Britain Chamberlain's announcement had been met with trepidation, but those fears failed to materialise. There was very little fighting on the ground until the Battle of France in May 1940.

But for the Poles it was a different. The Germans declared war on Poland on September 1 and the lives of millions of eastern European people would never be the same.


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For Issy Hahn that date changed everything. As an 11-year-old he had been aware of the presence of Germans on the streets of his home town Konin, but the declaration saw a bombing raid and the start of a brutal occupation.

Issy, who now lives in Clayhall, lost most of his family to the Nazi death squads and lived through the hell of Auschwitz.

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Leon Greenman's story was tragically similar, although Leon escaped incarceration until Holland fell in 1940.

It's humbling to meet the likes of Issy who, through sheer determination, refused to succumb to the Nazi evil.

Leon was of a similar mould and we believe is a beacon for the Holocaust survivor community - hence our scheme for a memorial in Valentines Park.

Of course, life was soon to get tougher for the British. The Battle of Britain over its skies from July to October 1940 brought war home to the people - literally. And by the end of May 1941 thousands of people had been killed in bombing raids as the Germans' blitz on London bore its bloody toll.

For this 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two, let us remember all the victims of the conflict, at home and abroad, on the home front and of those who fought hand to hand with the enemy.

As much as many do not like to admit it, we owe a debt to them all and would do well to spare them a thought today.

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