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New medal honours Holocaust heroes

10th March 2010

A new award has been created by the government to recognise Britons who saved the lives of persecuted people in the Holocaust.

The British Hero of the Holocaust honour has been granted to 27 individuals for their efforts in helping Jews and other persecuted groups during the Second World War.

Many of the heroes have died in the years since the conflict, but two surviving honourees - 100-year-old Sir Nicholas Winton and 91-year-old Denis Avey - attended a reception at Downing Street to collect their silver medals.

Prime minister Gordon Brown commented: 'These individuals are true British heroes and a source of national pride for all of us. They were shining beacons of hope in the midst of terrible evil because they were prepared to take a stand against prejudice, hatred and intolerance.'

Shahid Malik, the minister for cohesion and faith, added that many think of a hero as someone with magical characteristics, but the 27 recipients of the award show that ordinary individuals can rise up to fight acts of evil.

Last month, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission confirmed that 14-year-old Reginald Earnshaw is the youngest known service casualty of the Second World War.

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