A WINCHESTER man has walked in the footsteps of his aunt as she started her final journey to her death in the Holocaust.

Danny Habel visited Berlin to see the unveiling of a memorial plaque to his father’s sister, Klara, one of six million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

On November 27 1941, aged 19, she was put on a train that trundled from Berlin to Riga, the capital of Latvia.

On November 30, in sub-zero temperatures, with 1,000 other people, she was marched into the forest, forced to undress, taken to a ditch and shot by the Nazis.

Danny, with his brother Alex, went to the German capital for a ceremony in which local people erected a small memorial on the pavement outside the flat where Klara lived for the last two years of her life.

During a brief ceremony Danny was asked to saw a few words.

“I was to say a memorial prayer, but the words won’t come out. I looked up and down Marienstrasse and wondered how decent people, Christian people, could have ignored the horror – or worse still, may have participated in the cruellest destruction of their neighbours.”

But then he thought of the modern Germans who have arranged and researched the memorial and had welcomed him.

“My voice returned and I was able to carry on with the prayer. Thanks to all in this community, my Auntie Klara lives on. They have given some meaning to her suffering. I hope that this tiny ‘stepping stone’ will always remind us, so one day the world will be free forever of such evil atrocities.”

Danny and his family members visited the apartment where Klara lived.

He told the Chronicle: “It was very moving. The most shocking thing was to find out the way Klara was murdered.”

Danny said: “There is a new Germany, a new generation and they deserve credit trying to do the best they can to put it right. You can’t bear grudges. You can’t forget but you have to forgive otherwise you can never get over it.”

Mr Habel said his father Jack managed to flee Germany before the Second World War started, arriving in the UK on an agricultural visa because he was a qualified cowherdsman.

A trained upholsterer, he set up a business which grew into the Winchester furniture business which Danny continues today.

More than a dozen members of Danny’ family on both his mother’s and father’s side died in the Holocaust.

The plaque is one of the 50,000 that have been laid as part of the ‘Stolperstein,’ or stepping stone project to remind people that it was individuals who suffered in the Holocaust.