Ben Helfgott

Born in Pabianice, Poland, in 1929. After three years in the Piotrkow-Trybunalski ghetto, he survived Bugaj and Hortensia labour camps and Buchenwald, Schlieben and Theresienstadt concentration camps. His mother and youngest sister were murdered in December 1942.

Ben came to England in August 1945 as one of 'The Boys' and in 1947 was reunited with his younger sister, Mala.

He became a successful businessman and champion weightlifter. In 1956 and 1960 he captained the British Olympic Weightlifting Teams – the only known concentration camp survivor to have participated in the Olympics. He was British Lightweight Champion for seven years and gold medallist at the 1950, 1953 and 1957 World Maccabiah Games.

In 1963 Ben helped launch the ‘45 Aid Society for Holocaust Survivors and has been chairman ever since. He is also president of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and of the Yad Vashem Committee of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He was awarded an MBE for services to the community, and the Polish Knights Cross, Order of Merit, and Commanders Cross, Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for his work of reconciliation between Poles and Jews.

Ben and his wife Arza have three children and eight grandchildren.

"Beware! Do not repeat the mistakes of the 20th century. Be tolerant and work in harmony with people of all races and creeds; reject hatred and revenge. Reach out with tolerance: live with integrity and give of yourself to society. Endeavour to enhance human dignity."