For Jewish News March 11 2022
Holocaust survivor Steven Frank has made a heartfelt and direct plea to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “show some humanity” by allowing Ukrainian refugees into Britain — and in a powerful symbol, Mr Frank made his plea from the White Cliffs of Dover, one of the traditional entry points into the UK.
In a short and emotional message, Mr Frank teamed up with the British political campaigners, Led By Donkeys, who transmitted his speech onto the clifftops in a gigantic image. Mr Frank spoke of his own Holocaust experience, a five-year-old when the Nazis first occupied the Netherlands, and still only seven when he first went into the camps.
Leonard Frank, his father, was an eminent Amsterdam lawyer who spent the early years of the war providing fake papers for other Jews and also hiding Jews in his own home. All that ended in 1942 when he was betrayed “and I never saw him again”.
Recounting how his mother, a native English speaker, had taken down from the radio the speech by Winston Churchill announcing the end of the war, Mr Frank went on to speak about how he, his mother and two brothers, finally landed at an RAF reception centre. A policeman at the centre had taught the boys their first English words, the days of the week, and then given each of them sixpence, he recalled: “the first kind action to us by a policeman in uniform for five years”.
Mr Frank, who regularly speaks about his Holocaust experience and holds the BEM for his work, told the Prime Minister that those Ukrainians whom he could allow in to Britain would make an enormous contribution to the country and would be “eternally grateful for the hospitality and the safety” that Britain would offer. He highlighted actions by people in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Germany in helping the Ukrainian refugees. And he said: “Don’t turn them away — that’s not humanity at all”.