The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website


New book features Norwich Holocaust missionary hero 

A leading human rights lawyer has written a new book which includes the story of Norwich missionary and Holocaust hero Elsie Tilney, which he is now promoting worldwide.


Elsie Maude Tilney, 1893-1974, grew up in Norwich and was a member and missionary of Surrey Chapel Free Church

Elsie’s acts of bravery rescuing Jews from the Holocaust when she found herself in an internment camp in France, during World War II went unnoticed for many years.  Now Professor Philippe Sands QC, Professor of Law at University College London, has written and published a new book which features her story called ‘East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity’.   

Elsie Tilney’s extraordinary acts of bravery were unearthed when Professor Sands discovered that his own mother Ruth Sands had been rescued from Vienna and escorted to safety in Paris by Elsie in July 1939. He worked with Dr Ros Codling, the Surrey Chapel archivist, to put together the story of Norwich’s own Holocaust hero. 

In 2015 at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London Elsie was honoured as 'Righteous Among the Nations' by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority. Elsie Tilney is one of only 21 British citizens to be honoured in this way. 

Philippe Sands said: “I couldn’t help but think the community she grew up in imbued her with these values. It made me think of Norwich in a certain way. It is a special community.”

Mr Sands has so far promoted the book in America, Australia, Mexico, Japan, South Africa, Hong King and China.
Article extracts from EDP24, read more here

Read our previous story about Elsie's heroism.

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