MUCH-LOVED and respected Holocaust survivor Otto Deutsch, who came to Britain on the Kindertransport, has died at the age of 88.
Tributes have been pouring in for Mr Deutsch who was an active member of the community and regularly spoke about his experiences fleeing his home in Austria to find safety in England during the Second World War.
Mr Deutsch, who lived at Surbiton Avenue, Southchurch, visited schools and various organisations delivering talks about his life and working tirelessly to commemorate and educate people about the Holocaust across the country.
Director of the Hebrew Congregation, Kevin Leigh, said: “Otto was a dearly loved and much respected man, for what he went through to escape the Nazis, leaving his family behind, but also for what he became and stood for both as a symbol of good triumphing over evil and for reminding us always to be vigilant against such evil, whatever form it takes.
“His memory will burn brightly forever in our hearts and his devotion to the family he lost will be a shining example for always of how love can endure despite the most heinous of atrocities being committed. He shall not be forgotten.”
Mr Deutsch was invited to attend the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his contribution to Holocaust commemoration and education.
Karen Pollock MBE, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “Otto Deutsch dedicated many years of his life to educating the next generation about his safe passage to Britain on the Kindertransport.
“He was a lovely man with such a kind and gentle way about him – he will be sorely missed by all of us at the Holocaust Educational Trust.”
Mr Deutsch was also a dedicated member of the local branch of the Liberal Democrats.
Bob Howes, chairman of the Rochford and Southend East Liberal Democrats said: “Otto was a very dedicated member and a keen independent thinker. I remember one time he stepped in and gave a talk when one of our speakers cancelled. He was so emotional and engaging - it was incredible.
"He was a smashing bloke to talk to and will be missed by many."
John Lamb, leader of Southend Council, said: “We are all very sad to learn of Otto’s death.
"He was a great man who did sterling work in the community sharing his experiences and helping to commemorate the Holocaust in Southend. He was always willing to attend and speak at events, and I am sure he will be very much missed by many local people.”
His funeral will take place at Stock Road cemetery, Southend, at 3pm tomorrow and afterwards there will be a celebration of his life at the Finchley Road synagogue in Westcliff.