Islington refugee who fled Nazis celebrated in portrait

15:00 22 June 2014

Victor de Waal by Bill Knight

Victor de Waal by Bill Knight


Islington refugee worker Victor de Waal has become the subject of a portrait featured in a photo exhibition celebrating those who have fled persecution.

Mr de Waal, who escaped Nazi Germany and came to the UK with his family in 1939, appears alongside 39 other photographs highlighting the contributions refugees have made to the UK.

After arriving in the UK, Mr de Waal went to Cambridge University and in 1976 became Dean of Canterbury Cathedral. Today he works at the Islington Refugee Centre in Cross Street.

He said: “Thankfully, few people in the UK would have thought of turning their back on those of us escaping the horrors of Nazi rule many years ago.

“It’s equally important today that we continue to keep up the great British tradition of continuing to offer protection to those in need.

“Atrocities may not be happening as close to home as they were over 70 years ago, but that is not to say they are no longer happening.” Journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, who came to the UK from Uganda in 1972, and Sri Lankan refugee Paul Sathianesan, now a Newham councillor, also feature in the exhibition at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square.

Refugee Council chief executive Maurice Wren said everyone photographed for the exhibition had “benefited from Britain’s long and proud tradition of providing protection to refugees”.

n The exhibition, marking Refugee Week, runs until Friday and admission is free.

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