Christmas 2015

I really don’t know where the year has gone to. I realise that as one gets older time seems to fly ever quicker – but this is ridiculous. So I have a look at my diary to give you a quick review of what I did to fill my time.

To start with I was ill at the beginning of the year, so I had to cancel some speaking appointments – nevertheless I managed to fulfil 43 of them, speaking to over 7,000 people.

January was particularly important, not least because it was the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. So I was on BBC1’s The Big Question, on ITV’s This Morning and was interviewed by several radio channels. Bits of a film about me were shown at the National Holocaust Memorial event in London (I felt it was more important for me to talk to 300 young people at Ellesmere Port). My son came over from Norway to hold my hand in what was quite an emotional time for me.

Noteworthy locations during the year were HM Prison in Leeds, an Interfaith event at Leeds Church Institute and one at St Edmund’s Church, a TEDx talk at Bath University, Caistor Grammar School, the Headingley Festival of Ideas as well as the York one, the Regional Conference of Rotarians in Scotland, the Department of Work and Pensions in Leeds – and many schools.

Skype also proved popular, with a school in Germany, a college in Brazil and many individuals – mainly graduate or postgraduate students – all over the world. Isn’t Skype useful? It means I don’t have to travel abroad and can keep in touch also with family and friends. Twitter and Facebook are also handy, but not as personal as the person-to-person contact one can get with Skype. So thanks to whoever invented it!

In between I have been busy getting the next book written. The first one has now been reprinted eight times and is due for another reprint in January. The tentative title is ‘The Woman with 9 Lives’, since I had so many careers in Britain. But it is not only about me, but also about members of my family who are no longer alive, but whose memory deserves to be kept alive. The manuscript is now with the editor/publisher and I have been promised that it will be out before the end of January. Lots of thanks to Tracy at the HSFA, who has been my invaluable amanuensis.

And then there is my involvement with the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association and the – hopefully – Holocaust Heritage and Learning Centre for the North to be set up at Heritage Quay at Huddersfield University. Something really worthwhile and needful, since there is life outside London!

So what about the future? I take it day by day – do the best I can each day – there might not be a tomorrow. I am greatly saddened by the refugee problem – I was there – done it. But I have alreaady 17 speaking engagements for 2016. Crazy?

Finally my very best wishes to you all for Christmas and 2016.