Their faces tell a story. One that should never be forgotten.

Survivors of the Holocaust who made their home in Haringey will have their stories shared when a special photographic exhibition Portraits for Posterity returns home to the borough.

It opens at Bruce Castle Museum on Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday (January 24) when a special blue plaque will also be unveiled to remember the late Roman Halter, the man who inspired the project, and his wife Susie.

Roman’s story began in 1927 when he was born into a Jewish family in Chodecz, now in central Poland.

The SS arrived 12 years later in 1939 and the Holocaust swallowed up the lives of his six siblings, parents, grandparents and all but four of the 800 people in his village.

Roman jumped from the transportation cart and escaped only to be sent to Auschwitz in 1944 where he witnessed fellow prisoners committing suicide by throwing themselves against the electrified fences.

Yet again he managed to escape, fleeing on a bicycle in the chaos caused by the Allies closing in on the camp.

After the war, Roman move to Britain, settling in Dickinson Road, Crouch End, marrying fellow survivor Susie in 1951 and having three children and seven grandchildren.

He became a successful architect, designing the gates at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, but in 1974 quit to focus on recalling his Holocaust experiences through art. His paintings have been exhibited at the Imperial War Museum, the Tate and Bruce Castle Museum. And in 2007 he published his autobiography, Romans’ Journey: A Memoir of Survival.

It was later that year that fellow Crouch Enders Jacki Reason, an editor and writer, Jan Marsh, who works for the National Portrait Gallery, and photographer Matt Writtle, who has worked for The Times, Sunday Times and London Evening Standard, persuaded him to have his portrait captured on camera.

Enfield Independent:

Matt Writtle

Matt says: “Roman said he would only do it if we photographed other survivors so we arranged six on the first day and we did all the photography in Jacki’s front room, it all began there.”

The Portraits for Posterity project was born and eventually took Matt across the country over four years photographing 101 survivors in total with Jan and Jacki carefully collecting their stories of the Holocaust.

Matt says: “I shot it all very simply with the black background to represent the horrible past that was behind them. Because I was behind the camera in a dark room they could only see the lens and I would allow time to pass and you would see them drift away into their own thoughts and those were the moments when I would press the shutter.”

The 42-year-old adds: “Roman always championed the project and was a massive supporter but he never told me what he thought of his picture, I think it was a very private matter for him.”

The images have already been exhibited across the country and now the project is coming to Tottenham for the first time to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day.

Matt says: “”We wanted to create an archive so that people never forget what they had to endure.

“We need to learn from the past and knew the survivors were getting older and some had already passed away.

He adds: "I hope that people can go and see it and really draw on the message that we are try to put out there that we should consider out fellow human beings and treat people as we expect to be treated ourselves.”

Roman died two years ago aged 84 and Susie, who represented Hungary as a swimmer in the 1948 Olympics, passed away last year.

The plaque honouring them will be unveiled at a ceremony on Sunday from 2pm to 4pm.

The Portraits for Posterity exhibition also features portraits and stories of Joan Salter, Eve Oppenheimer, Jerzy Lando and Jozsef Treuenburg.

The show runs at Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane, Tottenham from January 24 to 30. Details:,