hosted a series of special services and events on Holocaust Memorial Day
, Sunday January 27
, to honour the bravery of Elsie Tilney
, a missionary from their own congregation. The day's events included accounts from those who knew Elsie and experienced her courage.
In June 1939
, Hitler’s persecution of the Jews and other minorities was under way. As war clouds gathered, a Surrey Chapel missionary, Elsie Tilney (pictured in Algeria, 1920
), travelled from Paris
in Nazi-annexed Austria
, and accompanied a one-year-old Jewish girl, Ruth Buchholz
, to safety in Paris.
Elsie remained in Paris and was there when it was occupied by the Nazis in June 1940. Later that year she was interned in a prison camp at Vittel
, where she remained for four years, engaging in further brave acts to save the lives of others.
Elsie’s young companion, Ruth, survived and eventually moved to England after she married an Englishman. Her son, Professor Philippe Sands QC, has researched Elsie's remarkable and previously unheard story, involving events over three continents.
He, along with Ruth and Shula Troman
, who was interned with Miss Tilney in Vittel, also joined in the service. Shula survived the camp with Miss Tilney’s help, and in her nineties now lives in Brittany, France
Read more of the amazing story on EDP24