A British town is honoring Jewish refugees who escaped Nazi Germany with a memorial in a local park.
Watford, located 15 miles northwest of London, has planted a memorial tree to honor the Jews who fled the Nazis and settled in the UK, Hertfordshire Mercury reported.
The oak tree was planted by the Watford Inter Faith Association in the Peace Garden at Cassiobury Park on December 5.
The event was part of “80 Trees for 80 Years,” a UK-wide initiative created by the Association of Jewish Refugees to recognize the charity’s 80th anniversary by planting 80 trees, and to also honor the contribution of Jewish refugees to British society.
Two of the honorees – Harold Meyer, the former chair and honorary president of the Watford Inter Faith Association and Victor Garston – arrived in the country on the Kindertransport in 1939.
Dame Helen Hyde was also honored for her work on Holocaust education and national education.
Other UK towns and cities also planted trees and organized events around the tree planting ceremonies.
The association said that the trees not only honor the Jewish refugees but allow it to give back to communities by planting an oak tree which will become a “living legacy.” The country’s oak trees are in severe decline and new ones will be helpful for animals that depend on oak trees for their natural habitat.
The Cassiobury Park tree planting ceremony also included the burying of a time capsule inside of which was the life story of members of the Association of Jewish Refugees.
"Firstly, Oak trees are such an important part of our past and future heritage, living for centuries and supporting thousands of species of wildlife,” Watford Deputy Mayor Aga Dychton said at the ceremony. “Most importantly, the new tree in Cassiobury Park will honour the legacy of those who sought refuge in this country, made it their home and have contributed so much to its success.”
Michael Newman,2 the CEO of the Association of Jewish Refugees, said: “As well as helping to mark the heritage of our members and a place of historic interest associated with them, the planting of this tree enables the AJR to give back to and create a living legacy within the country that became home to the Jewish refugees.”
The planting occurred during Hanukkah and the National Tree Week, which heralds the start of winter tree planting season, occurring from November to March.