Helen Bamber dies: Human rights campaigner who worked with survivors of the Nazi Holocaust was 89

Her career went on to span 70 years, during which she was named European Woman of Achievement in 1993 and awarded an OBE in 1997

Helen Bamber, the prolific human rights campaigner, has died aged 89.

The north London-born activist, whose death was confirmed by the charity foundation she set up in 2005 in her name, started by working with Holocaust survivors in 1945.

Her career went on to span 70 years, during which she helped to establish the first medical group in the British section of Amnesty International and the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture in 1985.

She was named European Woman of Achievement in 1993 and awarded an OBE in 1997.

A statement from the Helen Bamber Foundation announced the news “with deep anguish”, and noted the “tens of thousands of men, women and children” she had helped “to confront the horror and brutality of their experiences”.

 

A number of famous names have paid tribute to the “human rights icon”, including Emma Thompson and Colin Firth.

Bamber worked with Firth as he prepared to play the role of a British officer captured by Japanese troops during the Second World War in The Railway Man.

“I marvelled that anyone could find the strength to engage with so many desperate stories without being engulfed by them,” he said.

“Her courage, wisdom and pragmatism were formidable.”

Thompson, the president of the Helen Bamber Foundation, added that she was a “great listener and an incredible interpreter” who never let her “imagination run dry”.

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