Archive to throw new light on life of Holocaust survivor

A painting of Ernest Levy
A painting of Ernest Levy
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The story of a Holocaust survivor and esteemed religious leader is to be told at a never-before-seen exhibition.

The Ernest Levy Archive, which consists of books, manuscripts and music, was donated to Edinburgh Central Library in 2010 by Mr Levy’s daughter Judy Russell, 58, a teacher from Gilmerton. The exhibition, made up of photographs and text, is to be launched today ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday.

Originally from Bratislava, Mr Levy spent 48 years in Glasgow, where he became a leading figure in the Scottish Jewish community.

Mr Levy always spoke out about his experiences, and went on to become one of Scotland’s most respected religious leaders.

He wrote two harrowing memoirs and earned praise for his commitment to enlightening younger generations about one of history’s most appalling episodes. Mr Levy, who died in August 2009, aged 84, believed Holocaust Memorial Day should act as a focus for races and groups still under persecution.

Councillor Deidre Brock, the city’s culture and leisure convenor, said: “Ernest Levy used the horrors of his own experience as a force for good to encourage tolerance and respect of others.

“Telling the story of his life through the collection will be a fitting way to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.”

Edinburgh’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day event will be held at Portobello High School on Wednesday. S6 pupils Lucy Henry and Chris Findlay, who visited Auschwitz as part of a programme run by the Holocaust Educational Trust, have taken lead roles in organising the event.

Among the guest speakers will be Holocaust survivor Anna Hanusova, 80, from the Czech Republic, and Edinburgh Lord Provost George Grubb.

Also attending will be Rabbi David Rose and Muslim women’s group Beyond the Veil.

Organiser and acting principal teacher of history, Mamie Philp, said: “We are delighted and privileged that Anna Hanusova is flying over to speak at this event. It’s an experience for people to actually hear what happened from somebody who was there.”

But the event will also explore how certain groups are still subjected to discrimination.

Mrs Philp added: “The theme for this year’s event is Speak Up – Speak Out. If you see someone being bullied, you should do something.”

To launch the campaign, pupils at St Augustine’s presented a drama-based presentation on the Holocaust. It also covered more recent genocides, including Rwanda, and incidents of racism in Scotland.

The Ernest Levy Archive will be on show until March 15.