Ed Miliband told how his family's experiences at the hands of the Nazis inspired him and elder brother David to enter politics today.
The new Labour leader said his "love" for Britain came from the opportunities the country gave his Jewish parents, Ralph and Marion.
Delivering his first speech to party conference, Mr Miliband said: "In 1940, my grandfather, with my Dad, climbed on to one of the last boats out of Belgium.
"They had to make a heartbreaking decision - to leave behind my grandmother and my father's sister. They spent the war in hiding, in a village sheltered by a brave local farmer. Month after month, year upon year, they lived in fear of the knock at the door.
"At the same time, on the other side of Europe, my mother, aged five, had seen Hitler's army march into Poland.
"She spent the war on the run sheltering in a convent and then with a Catholic family that took her in. Her sister, her mother and her.
"My love for this country comes from this story. Two young people fled the darkness that had engulfed the Jews across Europe and in Britain they found the light of liberty.
"They arrived with nothing. This country gave them everything. It gave them life and the things that make life worth living: hope, friendship, opportunity and family."
Mr Miliband said his parents had "worked hard to get on", with his father studying at night to reach university.
"The gift my parents gave to me and David are the things I want for every child in this country," he said. "A secure and loving home. Encouragement and the aspiration to succeed."
The leader described his upbringing, saying having a Marxist academic father had made it "different".
"But you know, it wasn't a cold house," he added. "It was warm, full of the spirit of argument and conviction, the conviction that leads me to stand before you today, the conviction that people of courage and principle can make a huge difference to their world.
"What my parents learnt in fear, they passed on to us in an environment of comfort and security.
"And there was one more lesson that I learnt.
"We do not have to accept the world as we find it. And we have a responsibility to leave our world a better place and never walk by on the other side of injustice.
"Freedom and opportunity are precious gifts and the purpose of our politics is to expand them, for all our people.
"That faith is not something I chose. It's not something I learned from books, even from my Dad's books.
"It was something I was born into. And that is why David and I have devoted our lives to politics."
"And it is why I will commit to you here and now. My beliefs will run through everything I do. My beliefs, my values are my anchor and when people try to drag me, as I know they will, it is to that sense of right and wrong, that sense of who I am and what I believe, to which I will always hold."Reuse content