On March 5th 2017 The Polish Embassy in London hosted a ceremony to mark the formal establishment of charitable status for Learning from the Righteous. The event marked the UK’s only official recognition of The European Day of the Righteous.
In front of Holocaust survivors, parents, and teachers, over 40 children aged 10-13 from London’s Jewish and Polish schools presented their responses to studying the acts of courage and selflessness carried out by the Righteous Among the Nations. Their work has also been published in a book, presented during the ceremony, and forms part of a unique exhibition that was also on display. The workshops that preceded the ceremony reached over 400 schoolchildren.
The event was attended by Sir Eric Pickles, United Kingdom Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, who together with the Polish Ambassador presented the children with books and certificates.
In February 2017, “Learning from the Righteous” secured a charitable status, which means it can now expand its work so that many more children can take part in its workshops in the future.
Arkady Rzegocki, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in London, said: What makes Antony Lishak’s project so unique is its underpinning human dimension. By telling the stories of both the rescuers and the rescued, he helps his students to better understand the reality of war and significance of true courage. The Righteous were both heroes and ordinary people. They did not seek recognition or personal gain, but acted because it was the right thing to do. I am very happy that the Polish Embassy in London can be a part of this exceptional educational project.
Sir Eric Pickles MP, United Kingdom Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, said: Poland suffered more than any other country in the Second World War, and the Polish government has made a tremendous effort throughout the years to preserve the memory of the Holocaust. Projects such as “Learning from the Righteous”, which both recognise the heroism of the people that saved lives and set these stories in the painful context of human brutality and indifference, can make a real mark on today’s world.
Antony Lishak, director of the “Learning from the Righteous” charity, said: Over the past 35 years I have been involved in countless projects, but none has meant more to me than “Learning from the Righteous”. Everyone is very rightly committed to the ideal of “never again”, yet often the subject of the Righteous lurks in the shadows. It is mine and the Embassy's hope that now we are established as a registered charity, that we can teach more children about this sensitive and hugely important field of education.