I applaud everything the Smith family have done and are still doing

- Simon Winston re the Smith family who founded the National Holocaust Centre and Museum.

Bio written by Simon Winston BEM: 

"Simon Winston was born in 1938 , in Radzivilov, Poland, (now in the Ukraine). The 20,000 people of the town included 7,000 Jews. In 1941 the German army entered Radzivilov and immediately set out to brutalise the Jews in a most barbaric way. Jews had their property and possessions stolen and had to obey humiliating and draconian laws. In April 1942 the Germans built two ghettos for the Jews. 1000 young and healthy Jews were sent to Ghetto 1. From there they were sent outside to work as slave labourers, and were rewarded with some food. 5000 old and sick Jews, and some orphaned children, were sent to Ghetto 2 where they were starved to death. In July 1942 the last 2000 who were still alive were taken to a nearby forest where they were shot dead and buried.

In September 1942 Simon and his family managed to escape from the Ghetto. They spent two years hiding at three different farms, looked after by Polish farmers. When war ended they had no homes to go to. They lived in Displaced Person's Camps in Poland and Germany for a further two years.

In November 1947 Simon and his family were fortunate to be allowed to come to Britain. He was overjoyed. He had lost his childhood, now suddenly he was playing with new friends and going to a proper school. But unfortunately there was some unchecked racism and antisemitism in Britain in his early life here. He had to fight through that and in the end he didn't tell people he was Jewish, unless it was necessary. Nor did he tell his story, for 50 years, because nobody was interested. Then in 1997 Simon discovered Beth Shalom (the House of Peace) - now the National Holocaust Centre and Museum. He was particularly impressed by the Smith family who created the Holocaust Centre and inspired so many others to take up the cause. They persuaded Simon to release his demons and tell his story. 

In 2002 Simon commissioned a sculpture in the gardens at the Centre, called "Hidden Childhood". It was sculpted by a dear friend of Simon's, Stanley Bullard, who sadly died a few years ago.

In 2020 Simon was awarded the BEM for Holocaust Education and Awareness. In the same year he also received an Honorary Doctorate from the Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, for Holocaust Education and Remembrance. Both honours were eventually presented to Simon in May 2021 at the National Holocaust Centre, one live and one virtual, and the film is available here".

Hidden Childhood, sculpted by Stanley Bullard

The Collection

The museum houses documents, objects, and photographs donated by Simon. It is our privilege to care for these artefacts and ensure they are available for future generations. The museum's collection provides vital, tangible, evidence of the Holocaust. We are committed to ensuring we have everything we need to continue to tell our speaker's stories into the future.