Judge Rinder has spoken about the trauma his family experienced as victims of the Holocaust.
The Strictly Come Dancing star’s Polish Jewish grandfather Moishe Malenicky escaped the death camps but lost his parents and siblings there, something which he hardly ever spoke of during his life.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Judge Rinder said: “My grandfather did not speak of it often but there were dark shadows, poisonous drips of stories, that were always in my psyche.”
Although he went through indescribable trauma you never thought of him as a victim.
TV personality Judge Rinder was speaking alongside his grandfather’s friend Ben Helfgott to promote the 45 Aid Society, set up by survivors to remember those who died in the Holocaust and share their stories, and which Judge Rinder’s mum, Angela Cohen, is now chairwoman of.
Sharing some of Moishe’s stories, the Strictly contestant said: “A drunk German soldier came up to him on Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement – and demanded, ‘What do you Jews sing on Yom Kippur?’ And he whipped my grandfather until he sang.
“He ended up doing the most backbreaking job of all but later found the so-called easier work involved putting poisonous chemicals into tank shells. Men doing that lived only about two months.”
He added: “It is incredibly painful hearing those stories. It is difficult to ever think about your loved one having suffered.”
Moishe and Ben were reunited at Schlieben labour camp in Germany and Ben, now 85, recalled being offered rotten potato soup when he arrived at the camp, but turned it down saying: “It smelt of excrement.”
Then he saw a starved man running over to eat the soup and realised it was Moishe.
Moishe arrived in Windermere after the war and Judge Rinder said: “Windermere was his paradise. The locals may never have met a Jew before, but they were so welcoming. He loved this country. He loved life.”
He added: “Although he went through indescribable trauma you never thought of him as a victim.”
Judge Rinder shared his last memory of his grandfather: “Just before he died in 2001 I was called to the Bar. He was bedridden so I went in to him in my wig and gown. And he opened his eyes and smiled.”
To read more about the 45 Aid Society, go to www.45aid.org.