Untold tales of the Holocaust

The late Dr Bruce Eaton, one of the people behind Holocaust Memorial Day in Hastings
The late Dr Bruce Eaton, one of the people behind Holocaust Memorial Day in Hastings

THE horrors of the Holocaust will be remembered during a service at St Mary-in-the-Castle later this month.

Hastings Borough Council is hosting the town’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day at the seafront venue from 11am on Saturday, January 29.

Organised by the Hastings and District Jewish Society, the Christian Friends of Israel and the Council of Christians and Jews, the event will see people from across the town come together to remember the six million Jews who were killed under Germany’s Nazi regime.

And the theme of this year’s event will be Untold Stories, with those gathered encouraged to think about the unknown tales from people affected by the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

One such tale is that of Dr Bruce Eton – a Holocaust survivor who settled in Hastings and was a key figure behind the launch of the town’s memorial day more than a decade ago.

Dr Eton, who worked at the Conquest Hospital in St Leonards and died back in 2007, was born in Berlin in 1914 and was one of around 600,000 Jews living in Germany at that time.

From then on his life went from one struggle to another. Aged 19 he applied to study medicine at Berlin University – just as Hitler came to power - but was sent by his mother to live in Switzerland.

He studied in Basle and later Milan before being forced to leave both institutions by police before he had finished his degree.

He left Italy for England where he once again began his studies, only to be put in an internment camp with other German nationals.

He was released, worked for the British Army and finally became a doctor in June 1943 – moving to Hastings in 1961 where he became the consultant gynaecologist at the Conquest.

His story is just one of many that Brian Linke, one of the organisers of the forthcoming day, hopes people will remember.

He said: “We are looking forward to the local community coming together to remember victims of the Holocaust and those whose lives have been affected by exclusion and hatred in subsequent genocides.

“It is vital that we listen to the survivors’ told and untold stories, consider the lessons and use them as an inspiration for our own behaviour.

“By listening to these stories we can understand the need to work together to create a society which is free from discrimination and hatred.”

Admission to the event is by ticket only, and these are available free of charge, from Hastings Information Centre, in Priory Meadow.

They must be collected before Saturday, January 29.