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Deal Holocaust Memorial Day, Cllr Ben Bano to pay tribute to Simone Weil of Ashford and Anne Frank

By Sam Lennon

Four remarkable females who defied Nazi persecution will be discussed during a Holocaust Memorial Day event.

They include the world famous teenage diarist Anne Frank and a French Resistance member who died in Kent.

The annual commemoration is by Deal Town Council and starts at 2.30pm on Sunday, January 27, in the Town Hall.

Last year's Deal Holocause Memorial Day at St George's Church
Last year's Deal Holocause Memorial Day at St George's Church

A short wreath laying service will take place at the Holocaust Memorial Stone St George's Church Garden.

After the service Cllr Ben Bano will give a talk on the three women and one girl who strove to resist Hitler.

A council spokesman said: "They showed how humanity could win through in spite of the forces of evil in Hitler's Germany."

Anne Frank, a German, is one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust and became posthumously famous for the publication The Diary of a Young Girl.

She documented her and her family's life in hiding from 1942 to 1944 in Nazi-occupied Holland.

The Gestapo eventually found them and she died from disease at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

Cllr Ben Bano. Picture Paul Amos
Cllr Ben Bano. Picture Paul Amos

A second person Cllr Bano will talk about is Simone Weil, a French philosopher and author who was offered training by the British to become a clandenstine wireless operator.

This was to help her fellow Resistance members in Nazi-occupied France but her failing health, primarily tuberculosis, stopped that happening.

She died from cardiac failure at the Grosvenor Sanitorium in Kennington, Ashford on August 24, 1943, aged 34.

It was found she had starved after deciding to live only on the rations available to French people under the Nazis.

She had moved from London to Ashford less than a week before her death as her health worsened.

Simone Weil. Picture courtesy of Steve Salter
Simone Weil. Picture courtesy of Steve Salter
The sign in Ashford commemorating Simone Weil.
The sign in Ashford commemorating Simone Weil.

Simone Weil Avenue, on the town's A28, is named after her and she is buried at the nearby Bybrook Cemetery.

The second woman discussed is Edith Stein, a German Jew who became a Catholic nun.

She was martyred after dying in the Auschwitz gas chamber in 1942.

The fourth person is Etty Hillesum, a Dutch author who described he persecution of Jews in Amsterdam during German occupation. She also died at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.

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