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Ben Helfgott

Ben Helfgott

Broadcast

First broadcast: Sun 01 Apr 2007

Campaigner, Athlete

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]

Choices

Edward Elgar

1.

Edward Elgar

Pomp & Circumstance March

Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Sir Arthur Bliss

Others who chose this artist

The Zemel Choir of London

3.

The Zemel Choir of London

Kol Nidrei

Les Karmon Israeli

5.

Les Karmon Israeli

Hava Nagila

BBC Archive

6.

BBC Archive

The opening of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne

The Three Tenors

7.

Castaway's favourite

The Three Tenors

Nessun dorma! (from Turandot)

Others who chose this artist

Ludwig van Beethoven

8.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Symphony No. 9 in D minor 'Choral'

Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Herbert von Karajan

Others who chose this artist

Book

The History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

A bar with two discs for weight training

Others who chose a similar luxury

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