Holocaust survivor and TikTok star Lily Ebert awarded MBE for services to Holocaust education

Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert after being made a MBE
Ms Ebert is now based in north London, and is a mother of three, a grandmother of 10, and became a great-grandmother for the 36th time in 2022. Credit: PA images

Words cannot explain how much honour means to me, says Holocaust survivor.

A 99-year-old great-grandmother from north London who survived the Holocaust and became a founding member of the UK’s Holocaust Survivor Centre.

She said “words cannot explain how much this means to me” after being made an MBE.

Lily Ebert was recognised for her services to Holocaust education at Windsor Castle after being included in the New Year Honours list – the first overseen by Charles since his ascension to the throne.

She was accompanied by t the ceremony by her great-grandson, 19-year-old Dov Forman.

The pair have accrued billions of views on video-sharing platform TikTok in an effort to educate the younger generation on the Holocaust.

“Not so long ago, there were people who wanted to kill me for my religion, and today I received this honour”, Ms Ebert said from the Castle, in a room which celebrates the life of the Jewish Queen Esther.

“Words cannot explain how much this means to me.

“I promised myself that if I survived, then I would tell the whole world what had happened to us in Auschwitz – that there were people killed for no other reason than their beliefs, because we were believed not to be worthy of life.”

She said that she has always tried to be a positive force in the world and encourage others to “appreciate our differences and learn from each other, and be kind to everyone.

“Something terrible like that should never, ever happen again. As long as I am alive I will teach the world to be tolerant”, she added.

She also spoke about the importance of educating people through social media, in particular TikTok.

“I find (educating people through TikTok) very important because the youngsters really want to learn and they should learn,” she said.

“I don’t speak only what I learn – I went through it.”

Ms Ebert migrated to the UK in 1967 with her husband and is now based in north London Credit: Pa images

Ms Ebert was freed from Auschwitz at the age of 20, 78 years ago, and spent a year in Switzerland before moving in 1946 to Israel, then under British rule in Palestine.

She migrated to the UK in 1967 with her husband, Samuel, and began a life of educating the world about the horrors of the Holocaust.

Ms Ebert is now based in north London, and is a mother of three, a grandmother of 10, and became a great-grandmother for the 36th time in 2022.

The King wrote a foreword for her book, Lily’s Promise, as Ms Ebert spoke about her appreciation for the monarch whom she has met on a series of occasions, including at one of his Christmas parties.

“It must be a very difficult job and he does it with such a love and understanding, that I thank him very much.

“I never thought that I would have the opportunity to thank him personally.”

She added that news of her MBE arrived via a letter and that the recognition is “very special”.

“People are still here in this world and (are showing) their respect – what we (should) try to have for the whole community.”

Her grandson, Mr Forman, said that it was “humbling” to witness his grandmother become an MBE.

“It is so humbling to be here today, together with four generations of my great-grandmother’s family as she accepted her MBE.

“It was very moving to see the tears rolling down her face as she told the King that she never expected to survive the Holocaust, let alone receive an honour from the King of England.”

He added that the following they have gained on TikTok is partly to “take a torch and pass it to others”.

“When you listen to a Holocaust survivor, when you listen to a witness, you become a witness,” he added

“And so every single person that hears our story on TiKTok… they learn the lessons of the past.

“So I’m incredibly honoured and humbled to have helped my great-grandmother go viral and provided her with a platform and every single day we get thousands of comments from across the world, from countries even where they are banned from learning and teaching about the Holocaust.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…