UK Holocaust survivors to be honored by Queen Elizabeth II
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UK Holocaust survivors to be honored by Queen Elizabeth II

Monarch set to present British Empire Medal to seven Nazi victims in recognition of their education work

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II delivers the Queen's Speech during the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London on June 21, 2017. (AFP/Carl Court)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II delivers the Queen's Speech during the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London on June 21, 2017. (AFP/Carl Court)

Seven UK Holocaust survivors are to be honored by Queen Elizabeth II for their work in the field of Holocaust education and awareness.

They are to receive the British Empire Medal as part of the queen’s birthday celebrations, it was announced Friday ahead of the publication of the annual list on Saturday.

The seven survivors, who live in the UK and are between the ages of 89 and 94, have told thousands of children of their wartime experiences, the Guardian newspaper reported.

They had “demonstrated extraordinary personal resilience and commitment in retelling their painful story for the purpose of championing tolerance and diversity. Their work plays a vital role in ensuring future generations continue to learn from the past,” said a spokesperson for the honors list.

Five of the survivors came to the UK on the Kindertransport after the Kristallnacht pogrom, one was liberated from Bergen-Belsen, and one fled Vienna for the UK when the Nazis took over Austria.

One of the award recipients, Ruzena Levy, 89, saw her family wiped out in the Holocaust, and couldn’t speak about the horrors of the war for 50 years.

“Now I speak to children who are the age I was when I went to Auschwitz. I try to tell them the inhumanity of it all, and how they must learn to love their neighbors, the child next to them, not abuse them,” Levy told the Guardian.

Levy arrived in Auschwitz when she was 13, and saw her mother and baby brother sent to their deaths in the camp’s gas chambers. She survived that camp, and later Bergen-Belsen, which British troops liberated on April 15, 1945.

She said she had “never dreamed” she would receive an award like the British Empire Medal.

“I’m very humbled and very grateful,” she said.

The so-called Birthday Honours are a part of the monarch’s birthday celebrations held each June and recognize outstanding people in the UK.

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