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Granddaughter of Auschwitz victim to lead Sandwell’s Holocaust Memorial Day service

Published 24th January 2023

Professor marian gieszczykiewicz  at Auschwitz

A former Mayor of Sandwell, Dr Ann Jaron, will be the keynote speaker at a special service to mark Holocaust Memorial Day at 11am on Friday 27 January 2023 at Highfields House, West Bromwich.

The service is open to everyone and attendees are requested to be in the Memorial Grounds at Highfields House (Sandwell Register Office) at least 15 minutes early at 10:45.

Dr Jaron will talk about her Polish grandfather who was murdered at Auschwitz in Poland during the Second World War.

Her grandfather, Professor Marian Gieszczykiewicz, was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp and extermination centre as a political prisoner in 1942. A 53-year-old married father of two, Marian was taken on a stretcher to the yard of the notorious Auschwitz Block 11 interrogation centre where he was shot by a Nazi officer.

He was a professor of bacteriology and dean of the medical school at Jagiellonian University in Krakow and had been arrested earlier in the war for activities including running an underground university and providing medical services in the Krakow ghetto.

Marian was moved to Auschwitz in summer 1942 and died on 31 July 1942, just days after sending his wife a final letter urging her to sell some of his clothes. His family survived the war with his son, Dr Jaron's father, emigrating to Britain.

Holocaust Memorial Day is the day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution, and in the genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 is Ordinary People and focuses on the involvement of ordinary people in all aspects of genocides - as perpetrators, bystanders, rescuers, witnesses, and victims.

The current Mayor of Sandwell, Councillor Richard Jones, said: “It is important for us to remember horrific atrocities of the Holocaust and other genocides that have followed since. Remembering them inspires us to commit ourselves to standing up against discrimination and hatred and to speak out against identity-based persecution. Dr Jaron’s family was directly affected by the tragic reality of the Holocaust, and she has over the course of her life worked to ensure that such terrible tragedies are not a part of our future. We are honoured to have her as the keynote speaker at the memorial service, which everyone is welcome to attend.”