Ben Helfgott

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Kirsty Young's castaway on Desert Island Discs this week is the Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott. His inspirational journey has taken him from the horrors of Nazi-occupied Poland to the highs of Olympic glory. He was nine years old when Germany invaded and at that point, he says, his childhood ended. He spent the next three years in a ghetto while his mother and younger sister were among those rounded up and shot by the Nazis. He was then deported to a series of concentration camps and, when he was eventually liberated from Theresienstadt, he was 15 years old and little more than a skeleton. He joined a group of 700 orphans who were brought to England to form a new life.

He went on to become a successful businessman and a champion weightlifter - but his physical strength is matched by an extraordinary emotional fortitude. Not only has he made the most of every opportunity that came his way but he has spent his life campaigning to ensure those who died are properly commemorated.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Nessun Dorma by The Three Tenors
Book: The History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
Luxury: A bar with two discs for weight training.

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 6 Apr 2007 09:00


Role Contributor
PresenterKirsty Young
Interviewed GuestBen Helfgott

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