Holocaust survivors have paid tribute to a teenager from Austria who spent the year on a volunteer programme “to keep the memory of the war alive”.
Ben Preclik has been helping out at the London Jewish Cultural Centre, in North End Road, Golders Green, as part of a survivors programme.
The 19-year-old was part of the Gedenkdienst scheme, which gives a select group of Austrians the choice of serving in Holocaust memorial centres instead of compulsory military service.
During his stint, Ben worked with the survivors on Holocaust education work and helped organise a series of activities and events.
He said: “Working with the centre has been an exceptional experience for me. I have been involved in some very exciting projects. I have enjoyed working here very much.
“I feel privileged to have worked with the survivors and found it to be a very rewarding experience.”
At a ceremony at the centre last Wednesday, more than 30 survivors said goodbye to Ben and welcomed Immanuel Scolik, their new volunteer.
Immanuel said: “I think it is the duty of my generation to keep the memory of what happened in the Holocaust alive.
“It is important to not to forget so that the younger generation learn from this and we can prevent something like this from happening ever again.
“I want to thank the London Jewish Cultural Centre for giving Gendenkdieners this opportunity.”
The centre has been working with Gedenkdienst for the past 17 years, and Immanuel is their 18th volunteer.
Christoph Weidinger, deputy head of mission at the Austrian Embassy, said: “We are so pleased that the Gedenkdieners are working for a better world amongst their generation.
“Benjamin and Immanuel are doing an excellent job for the London Jewish Cultural Centre.”