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Thursday, 14 March 2013

Anne Frank exhibition at HMP Thameside (February 2013)

Conversations, HMP Stafford, Courtesy of
the Koestler Trust

Open for less than a year now, we were kindly invited by Chaplain Andrew White to bring the Anne Frank event to HMP Thameside. This is a modern privately run male prison on the same site as HMP Belmarsh in Thamesmead. The exhibition was situated in the very modern multi-faith chapel.

We were again extremely fortunate in having a marvellous group of volunteers to act as exhibition guides, and they did a fantastic job! These men were mostly drawn from various Diversity rep groups and wing Reps, with an unexpected addition. One of the prisoners who visited the exhibition was so animated and interested in the exhibition that we thought he should be a guide himself, and so asked him if he would like to do this. He was really taken aback by this suggestion, and you could tell that he was very flattered to be asked to do something like this – a role he would never have considered that he had the requisite skills for. Needless to say, he became one of the best of the bunch. It’s nice when you see things like that happen!!!

It was a fantastic event, and again Eva Schloss was our guest speaker – very well received by all. We have been very fortunate, and it is to be hoped that Eva will be able to come along to more prison events this year. She is certainly very much appreciated by prisoners when she speaks at these events, in many ways putting other people’s lives into perspective when compared to the horrors of Auschwitz.

Let’s hope that we can return soon to build on the work that we have started with HMP Thameside and we wish them all the best for the future.

Click here to view an article in the Jewish Chronicle about our visit to HMP Thameside.

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