Making memory

2nd June 2000 at 01:00
MAKING MEMORY. By Stephen Smith. Quill Press, Woodlands, Main Street, Kirton, Newark, Notts NG22 9LP. pound;7.50

Stephen Smith, a Christian theologian, is the founder of Beth Shalom, Britain's first Holocaust memorial centre, which opened in Sherwood Forest in 1995. This book tells his strange and moving story.

A key chapter deals with a trip to Poland. When Smith stands before a piece of land with a broken-down fence and ealises that this was Belzec, in which half a million Jews perished, he is overwhelmed by the sense of loss.

Memory is all we have, Smith thinks, to keep us from repeating the horror. Although the purpose of Beth Shalom is educational, Smith is candid: "Even now, I do not know quite what the lessons of the Holocaust are, and the moment I do, I believe I will have lost the ability to learn."

Victoria Neumark

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