Jewish charity celebrates Holocaust refugee’s milestone birthday

Posted on February 18, 2024

Marianne Phillips and sculptor Frances Segelman who was commissioned to create a  bronze bust of Marianne <i>(Image: The Fed)</i>
Marianne Phillips and sculptor Frances Segelman who was commissioned to create a bronze bust of Marianne (Image: The Fed)

A Prestwich Jewish charity has celebrated a Holocaust refugee and volunteer’s milestone birthday.

Marianne Phillips, who has told her story through The Fed’s ongoing My Voice project, celebrated her 100th birthday on Valentines Day.

Marianne is treasured by all of her friends at The Fed who wished her well.

She first became known to The Fed when she signed up as a volunteer in 1997.

From there on she supported well over 25 families and individuals in the local Jewish community with her inimitable sensitivity, kindness and care – especially working with many people facing loneliness and isolation.

Marianne Phillips, a My Voice project storyteller, turned 100 this month 

As The Fed got to know Marianne better, it was discovered she had gone through the traumatic events of Kristallnacht in November 1938, and that the following August she left Berlin on the Kindertransport, bound for England.

In 2017, My Voice project volunteers began to work with Marianne to record her experiences before during and after the Second World War.

Over the next two years her life story book was completed and published in 2019.

“This is My voice, My Life” has since been presented to Yad Vashem (the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre) in Jerusalem, The Wiener Holocaust Library, Manchester University John Rylands Library and The Israel National Library.

Marianne has spoken to hundreds of school children and students about her experiences during the war years as part of My Voice’s educational aims.

Last year, in recognition of her dedication to Holocaust education, My Voice together with Yad Vashem UK, commissioned a bronze bust of Marianne by sculptor Frances Segelman.

The exquisite likeness will remain alongside her book as a lasting legacy of her experiences as a Kindertransport refugee, and an inspirational survivor who made Manchester her home.

Marianne left Berlin in 1939 on the Kindertransport, bound for England 

Juliette Pearce, The Fed’s My Voice manager, said: “Marianne is a truly wonderful, vital and optimistic lady, who cares immensely about sharing the lessons of her traumatic past with future generations.

“To say she is ‘an inspiration’ does not do her justice.

“It has been an absolute delight to work with her over many years, including on the My Voice Guardian Programme.

“She experiences immense pleasure and satisfaction from her involvement in this – meeting young people who have pledged to learn about her story, and share it with others, to ensure that even after she is no longer able, her voice will be heard.

“Marianne is cherished by all of her friends at The Fed and we wish her a hearty Mazal tov on this incredible milestone birthday. Ad mea v’esrim!”