Saint-Gilles pays tribute to Holocaust survivor Henri Kichka

Saint-Gilles pays tribute to Holocaust survivor Henri Kichka

Tribute was paid on Thursday to Holocaust survivor, passer of memory and writer Henri Kichka, who died from Covid-19 in 2020, at the age of 94.

The ceremony was held in Saint-Gilles in the presence of several political, associative and cultural figures, including two of Mr Kichka’s children, Irène and Michel.

The École les Quatre Saisons hosted the event, co-organised by the commune and the Association pour la Mémoire de la Shoah (AMS – Association for the Memory of the Shoah) with the support of the CCLJ and diamantaire Arthur Langerman.

Around 100 people turned out for the tribute, including pupils from the Quatre Saisons and Ugenspiel schools, who honoured the Holocaust survivor with their drawings, speeches and songs. The themes of passing on and teaching were chosen for the ceremony to celebrate Mr Kichka’s legacy.

The choice of a school as the venue for the commemoration was no coincidence. For the mayor of Saint-Gilles, Jean Spinette, the duty of remembrance is of vital importance today, particularly in teaching young people to be tolerant and wary of hate speech. “It is in our interest to arm these children with a particularly vigilant critical spirit,” he said.

Michel Kichka, Henri’s son, is the author of ‘Deuxième génération,’ an autobiographical comic strip recounting his youth and his relationship with his father.

After praising the efforts of the local schoolchildren, he recalled that the situation of his father, the son of Polish immigrants who fled anti-Semitism, still resonates today. “There will always be migration,” he explained in a call for tolerance.

Kichka agreed with the mayor on the need to be vigilant in an age of disinformation. “Knowing the truth is once again a struggle today,” he lamented.

The ceremony then continued at 29 rue Coenraets, where the commemorative plaques installed in front of the former home of the Kichka family were inaugurated.

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