Community 'bitterly disappointed' after Holocaust memorial tree vandalised in Tynemouth

The sapling and its wooden support were broken in two Credit: Local Democracy Reporting System

A tree planted to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Association of Jewish Refugees has been destroyed by vandals.

The sapling oak tree was planted in Tynemouth Park in January 2022.

The tree was seen snapped in two, with the wooden support it was strapped to also broken, on August 5 but it is suspected the tree had been vandalised earlier.

Tynemouth councillor Lewis Bartoli said: "We only planted that tree back in January with the idea it will outlive us hopefully and it is torn down already.

"I don't think it was a deliberate attack but perhaps symptomatic of visitors, especially young kids drinking on the beach but they leave litter, mess, and damage. We get a lot of people travelling from outside the area not treating the place with a great deal of respect.

"It is just tasteless, of all the things to destroy."

The oak tree was planted in January 2022. Credit: Local Democracy Reporting System

The site for the tree was chosen because it is close to a former hostel set up to house child refugees fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe. Near the tree was a plaque dedicated to Anne Judith Donath "who found refuge here from Hungary in 1942".

The tree was sponsored by her brother Geogre Donath.

Jo Briggs of the Association of Jewish Refugees said: "We are so upset to hear the tree we planted in honour of the fantastic welcome Britain provided refugees has been destroyed. The tree was a symbol of tolerance and a way of giving back to the local community that was so good to us 80 years ago."

North Tyneside Council says it will plant a replacement tree and restore the memorial: "We are deeply shocked and saddened by the apparent vandalism of the Holocaust memorial tree in Tynemouth Park.

"Unfortunately, the tree was too badly damaged to be saved and has had to be removed. We are bitterly disappointed with those responsible."

The Association of Jewish Refugees was established in 1941 and provides social and welfare services to Holocaust refugees and survivors.