Page last updated at 09:26 GMT, Friday, 1 January 2010

Belfast Auschwitz survivor Helen Lewis dies aged 93

Helen Lewis pictured in 2001
Helen Lewis built a life in Northern Ireland after the war

A Belfast-based choreographer who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp has died aged 93.

Helen Lewis, who had a long association with the Lyric Theatre, settled in Northern Ireland after WWII.

Born in Czechoslovakia, she trained as a dancer and having made a new life in Belfast became involved in dance teaching and choreography.

In 1992 she published a widely acclaimed autobiography A Time To Speak which recounted her time in the camp.

In her memoir she recalled how anti-Semitism grew during the war.

"By 1941 the daily onslaught of vicious anti-Semitism had prepared the ground for a new anti-Jewish law that made all previous ones look like harmless games: the introduction of the yellow star, to be worn in public at all times by all Jews over the age of six," she wrote.

"From that moment we were visible targets for anyone who chose to abuse or attack us and the psychological effects were cleverly and cruelly calculated to impress upon us that we were outcasts who had no place in society."

In 2001 she was awarded an MBE for her services to contemporary dance.



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