Sir Ben Helfgott, an Olympic weightlifter and Holocaust survivor, passed away on Friday at the age of 93.
Sir Ben endured horrific conditions in the Piotrkow Ghetto before escaping the Schlieben labor camp, Terezin and Buchenwald concentration camps, and finally the Piotrkow Ghetto.
He was one of 732 child survivors who came to the UK to start over after the Second World War, having almost lost his entire family to the Holocaust.
At the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, Sir Ben led the British weightlifting team just 11 years after being released from Nazi prison camps.
At the 1958 Commonwealth Games, when he won a bronze medal, and the Olympics in Rome in 1960, he once more competed for Great Britain.
Additionally, Sir Ben assumed the positions of honorary patron and president of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
Paying tribute, Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “Sir Ben Helfgott was a giant amongst men. A Holocaust survivor, Olympic champion, campaigner, visionary and our leader.
“Despite all he endured, Ben taught us all about resilience, tolerance and the crucial importance of educating future generations. He was our friend and mentor and we mourn his loss deeply.
“Ben always worked to ensure that survivors were looked after – he was a true leader of the survivor community.”
Sir Keir Starmer said he was “deeply saddened” to hear Sir Ben had died.
The Labour Party leader said: “Sir Ben was one of life’s polymaths. He was a hugely accomplished sportsman, representing Britain at the Olympics in weightlifting.
“He was one of only two Holocaust survivors to take part in the Olympics, an extraordinary tribute to his talent and determination.
“Throughout his life, Sir Ben demonstrated compassion and understanding, campaigning for tolerance and peaceful coexistence between communities.
“These are values by which we should all live. His life and legacy will be an inspiration to us all.”