I TOTALLY endorse the Agenda article by Professor Henry Maitles ("Depressingly little has changed over refugees", The Herald, August 6) in which he most accurately portrays the historical events and severe constraints pertaining to the admission of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the late 1930s to The UK (and elsewhere).

This year marks the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, perhaps the most notorious pogrom in which 30,000 German Jewish men of all ages were rounded up and deported to German concentration camps. They included a young 17-year-old and his young friends deported to Buchenwald Concentration Camp and therein brutalised. Some 4 months later, he was released and told, in no uncertain manner by his SS guards, to leave the country or else! He took the hint and fled to the UK. He was one of the lucky ones. He was my father. His parents, brother and sister and seven-month-old nephew and others were not so fortunate, perishing in the Holocaust. My mother was harassed by the Gestapo as she was forced to flee Germany for Britain. Her parents were murdered in Auschwitz. All of them pleaded to be granted refuge outside Germany. Most were caught up in the Evian politics with subsequent disastrous consequences leading to the Holocaust.

Those who did succeed in reaching these shores went on to make immeasurable contributions to British society. My own father, despite interrupted education, went on to become chief technician mechanical engineering in what is now Glasgow Caledonian University. His close friend and Buchenwald inmate, Henry Prais, required to recommence his education in Scotland, eventually becoming the first Professor of Linguistics at Heriot-Watt University. Hilda Goldwag, the only survivor of her Viennese family, became a very distinguished Glasgow artist, as was her friend Paul Zunterstein from Czechoslovakia, lecturer in sculpture at Glasgow School of Art.

Why should not the 330 asylum seekers threatened with eviction be afforded the same opportunities, as they would emphatically wish, as their Jewish compatriots of an earlier era? They surely have much to give in the same manner. They are the new generation.

Over the following years, our society has continuously wrestled with why it could not have done more. Yet even now, as Prof Maitles states “how little change there is today in rhetoric and policy” in relation to those current refugee and asylum seekers. Have international governments, and that includes the UK, learned nothing?

As a board member of the Scottish Refugee Council, I am aware that the organisation, and others, are continuously confronted with arcane policies and arcane procedures currently promulgated by Government via the Home Office and their cohorts in response to asylum applications. This inevitably results in immeasurable distress, insecurity and harassment to the individuals concerned.

There can be little question from my knowledge that the asylum seeker and refugee of today is fleeing from oppressions which are little different from those of their Jewish counterparts of 80 years ago. Whether they be Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, non-believer or other, a modern compassionate and moral society must afford succour to those in extremis and adversity.

It is salutary to remind that had not my parents been allowed to come to the UK in 1939, it is without any shadow of doubt, that I would not be writing this letter to The Herald today.

Ian Fulton,

114 Hillview Drive, Clarkston, Glasgow.