An event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day was hosted by the Lake District Paradise Project at Windermere Library today (Monday 27 January).
The event was held to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz and the subsequent arrival in the Lake District of 300 child survivors to recuperate.
The remarkable story of the child survivors is the subject of a new film drama, The Windermere Children, which is being screened on BBC2 on Monday night (27 January).
David Shannon, a relative of Moniek and Cesia, two of the survivors, was among invited guests attending the event in Windermere on Monday. He read messages from his relatives, two of the original child survivors.
The event on Monday was also an opportunity to mark a decision by Cumbria County Council to provide a long lease on Ellerthwaite House, the Windermere library building, to the Lake District Paradise Project (LDPP). Under the terms of the lease, the library building will house the LDPP’s expanded museum and exhibition centre alongside the council-run library service.
Cabinet’s approval to grant the long-term lease paves the way for the LDPP to seek external funding from national funding bodies to meet the cost of major refurbishment works throughout the building.
The county council will continue to run local library services from the library building, which will support the local community as it does now. This will complement and sit alongside the LDPP-operated museum and exhibition centre, which will tell the story of the 300 child Holocaust survivors’ journey to the Lake District as well as the modern history of Windermere, from the Sunderland ‘flying boat’ factory at White Cross Bay, to the creation of the Calgarth Estate.
The LDPP will aim to build on the success of the ‘From Auschwitz to Ambleside’ exhibition, currently housed on part of the first floor of the library building, which continues to gain international recognition.
Cllr Deborah Earl, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Community Services, said: “We believe this will be a unique partnership formed to commemorate child Holocaust survivors and to celebrate the history of a local community. The Lake District Paradise Project has some fantastic plans to create a world class facility in Windermere. At the same time we can secure the future of an important library building in the heart of the community, which can act as a catalyst to draw in external national funding. It’s a real win-win for the area and I’m really looking forward to seeing this exciting project come to fruition.”
Trevor Avery, Director of LDPP, says “The timing of this is perfect as it comes as we’re entering 2020, the 75th anniversary of when the child survivors arrived in the Lake District from the camps, and also the victory of the world’s democracies over a horrendous tyranny. There can be no better way to celebrate the children’s survival than to commemorate it through a hugely important library and education initiative.”