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Robert Rinder and his mother Angela Cohen receive MBEs for services to Holocaust education

Robert Rinder and his mother Angela Cohen both received honours at Wednesday’s investiture service at Windsor Castle.

The TV judge and his mother both received MBEs in recognition of their services to Holocaust education.

The mother and son duo appeared in the BBC One series My Family, The Holocaust and Me in which they explored Jewish families’ stories and speak in schools alongside survivors. 

Angela Cohen is head of the ’45 Aid Society, a charity set up in 1963 by Holocaust survivors. The society preserves the stories of more than 700 Jewish children who were brought to the UK after the end of World War Two.

Honoured: Robert Rinder and his mother Angela Cohen received honours at Wednesday’s investiture service at Windsor Castle

Rinder said on Wednesday that it was ‘a gift to share this with my mum who has taught me always to see the best in humankind.’   

The pair received their honours from the Prince of Wales in Wednesday’s ceremony, which also saw awards handed out to fitness guru Joe Wicks and Queen drummer Roger Taylor. 

Angela added that her work heading the ’45 Aid society had made clear the importance of ‘welcoming’ those fleeing conflict:’ I think that everything that’s happening in the Ukraine is a lesson that we have to welcome everybody into this country like it happened for my father,’ she said standing alongside her son. 

Rinder learned how seven of his relatives were slaughtered in Nazi concentration camps in the Second World War while delving into his family history on a 2018 episode of the BBC show Who Do You Think You Are? 

The TV judge, who comes from a Jewish family, was told how his great-grandparents and five of their children were killed in the Holocaust, with his grandfather, Morris Malenicky, the only member of the family to survive the war. 

Royal ceremony: The TV judge and his mother both received MBEs from the Prince of Wales, in recognition of their services to Holocaust education

Royal ceremony: The TV judge and his mother both received MBEs from the Prince of Wales, in recognition of their services to Holocaust education

The star discovered how Morris’ parents, his four sisters and his brother all died at the Treblinka Camp in Poland in 1940, six months after war was declared. 

Morris, who eventually passed away in London in 2001 at the age of 78, was a teenager at the time, and escaped the same fate as the rest of his family after being deemed strong enough to work and put into forced labour at a glass factory in Piotrkow. 

He was later sent to the Buchenwald and Schlieben camps in Germany, and finally to Theresienstadt in German-occupied Czechoslovakia, which was liberated by the Russian Army in 1945 three weeks after Morris arrived. 

After being brought to the UK by a Jewish charity, Morris met and fell in love with Judge Rinder’s grandmother, Lottie.  

Proud: The TV judge wore a waistcoat and tails to Wednesday's ceremony at Windsor Castle

Proud: The TV judge wore a waistcoat and tails to Wednesday’s ceremony at Windsor Castle

Delighted: Rinder's mother wore a smart white dress and matching jacket

Delighted: Rinder’s mother wore a smart white dress and matching jacket 

After appearing on Who Do You Think You Are? Rinder and his mother went on to  make BBC One series My Family, The Holocaust and Me in 2020 in which they explored Jewish families’ stories. 

The two part series saw Rinder travel to a small town in Belarus to meet one of the few people still alive who remembers a day when nearly 1,800 Jews were killed by Nazi soldiers and locals.  

Rinder said their mission had been to ‘teach the world what happens when we forget history.’

He added that although it was important to avoid ‘mak(ing) equivalencies’ or politicising too heavily, the current conflict in Ukraine meant ‘now more than ever (we should) remember what happens when we’re too complacent.’

Re-tracing the Levin family on his grandfather’s side, Rinder travelled to Voranava in Belarus, where he had a ‘heartbreaking’ conversation with 97-year-old Helena Sheshko, who vividly remembers the moment men, women and children were rounded up and killed, or buried alive, in a trench in the town in May 1942.

Impact: After appearing on Who Do You Think You Are? Rinder and his mother went on to make BBC One series My Family, The Holocaust and Me in 2020 in which they explored Jewish families' stories

Impact: After appearing on Who Do You Think You Are? Rinder and his mother went on to make BBC One series My Family, The Holocaust and Me in 2020 in which they explored Jewish families’ stories 

Heartbreaking: Some three million viewers tuned into the first episode of the programme, which saw Rinder meet second and third generations of three families affected by the Holocaust as they hunted the truth about their relatives

Heartbreaking: Some three million viewers tuned into the first episode of the programme, which saw Rinder meet second and third generations of three families affected by the Holocaust as they hunted the truth about their relatives

In her native Russian, she recounted how the mound of earth was ‘moving for several days’. 

Rinder called hearing her talk of the atrocity ‘the most profound moment of my life’. 

Some three million viewers watched the documentary, which followed second and third generations of three families affected by the Holocaust. 

187 people in total are due to receive honours during the ceremonies at Windsor on Wednesday. 

36-year-old fitness and nutrition specialist Joe Wicks, known as the Body Coach, broadcast free live workouts for months throughout the pandemic which were viewed by millions worldwide.

Honour: On Wednesday, Joe Wicks, who was made an MBE in the Queen's 2020 birthday honours, was honoured for his services to fitness as well as charity in the UK and abroad

Honour: On Wednesday, Joe Wicks, who was made an MBE in the Queen’s 2020 birthday honours, was honoured for his services to fitness as well as charity in the UK and abroad

Congratulations: Oliver award-winning Adrian Lester, 53, who plays bomb disposal operative Joel Nutkins in Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio's latest drama Trigger Point, was made a CBE in the 2020 Birthday Honours

Congratulations: Oliver award-winning Adrian Lester, 53, who plays bomb disposal operative Joel Nutkins in Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio’s latest drama Trigger Point, was made a CBE in the 2020 Birthday Honours

In 2020 Mr Wicks was awarded a Guinness World Record after 950,000 people watched his lifestream in March. In the same year year he donated proceeds from sales of his fitness videos to NHS and also raised £2m for Children in Need with a 24-hour fitness challenge.

On Wednesday, Wicks, who was made an MBE in the Queen’s 2020 birthday honours, will be honoured for his services to fitness as well as charity in the UK and abroad.

Also collecting awards at investiture services at Windsor Castle on Wednesday were Queen drummer Roger Taylor and Trigger Point star Adrian Lester.

Power couple! Adrian's wife Lolita Chakrabarti, whose credits include ITV's Vera and a production of Hamlet directed by Kenneth Branagh, has also been made an OBE for her services to drama

Power couple! Adrian’s wife Lolita Chakrabarti, whose credits include ITV’s Vera and a production of Hamlet directed by Kenneth Branagh, has also been made an OBE for her services to drama

72-year-old rocker Taylor received an OBE for services to music while acting couple Lester and his wife Lolita Chakrabarti received awards for services to drama.

Oliver award-winning Lester, 53, who plays bomb disposal operative Joel Nutkins in Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio’s latest drama, was made a CBE in the 2020 Birthday Honours.

Chakrabarti, whose credits include ITV’s Vera and a production of Hamlet directed by Kenneth Branagh, has also been made an OBE for her services to drama.

Honoured: Also collecting awards at investiture services at Windsor Castle on Wednesday was Queen drummer Roger Taylor, pictured with his wife Sarina

Honoured: Also collecting awards at investiture services at Windsor Castle on Wednesday was Queen drummer Roger Taylor, pictured with his wife Sarina

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