What Does ELMS Stand For?
What does ELMS stand for? After only a short acquaintance with the Society, Marina, an 18 year old Italian student, and two generations away from WWII, grasped it well in an article she wrote following her attendance at last year’s Annual Reunion in York. These are a few extracts from her longer article:
‘Pass important values to the next generation’
‘Raise awareness of still topical social issues like people’s rights and tolerance’
‘Human beings will learn from their mistakes, learn how to communicate with one another and understand the value of life’
‘Everybody matters. It is not right to make people expendable to the greater needs of the State, because the State doesn’t come first. Humankind does’
‘Someone would come have to come home after all, to spread the knowledge and the values that we picked up on’
‘Provided us with an insight that cast a new light on those past events’
The ELMS motto “I help the old to remember and the young to understand” (quoted by former ELMS member the late Gervaise Cowell MBE) is so apt. In addition to remembering and commemorating the past it is also our responsibility to provoke thought and awareness of how the lives of people from previous generations can have relevance today;’ to learn from their selfless example and pass on this message to future generations. we are fortunate that ELMS is developing links with the younger generation – the future is dependent upon learning from history. To that end the Resource packs which ELMS distributes free to schools emphasise that information about the escape lines is not only relevant to the history curriculum, but also across the broader sphere of humanities.
I have long wondered why, with our initial membership comprising so many escapers, evaders and helpers, many of whom are sadly no longer with us, that there has been minimal interest and support for the Society from their families! They are the succeeding generations who owe their very existence to the survival of their forebears thanks to the many acts of co-operation, compassion and humanity. Perhaps we all need to reflect upon the wider role that we, too, can play, both to preserve history and to promote the tenets and principles practised and upheld in times of duress.
Special Purpose Groups
Do you have skills? Do you have some time that you could offer? Could you volunteer your services to one of the Special Project Groups that ELMS is developing?
Maybe you have expertise in Business, Law, Fundraising, Languages or Education. Perhaps , for example, you could give a talk on the escape lines to a local group and become a member of the ‘Speakers Panel’ (appropriate material is supplied); or share your research with the Research Group or on the website Forum in answer to queries that appear there; or join a commemorative trail as a walker, supporter or part of a back-up team; or assist with a particular role during the organisation of a specific event? Even just placing a poster in a nearby library, or inviting a local school to sample the free Education Resource Pack help to promote both the escape lines history and the Society. Maybe you have contacts who could help us? Your commitment does not have to be onerous; just make the Trustees aware that you have the expertise/interest and are prepared to be called upon or consulted from time-to-time to support specific projects. We already have members who give talks; those who contribute book reviews; others who represent ELMS at events/wreath laying etc; and those who attend events then send a write-up and photos. Country based reps keep us in touch with events in their areas and represent the Society at some of those events. There is no compulsion; we are all volunteers but we do need more to ensure that we build a long term future for this Society