James Smith

I miss my mother deeply but remember every day she was driven by her Christian principles, embraced the concept in Judaism of Tikkun Olam (repairing a broken world) and embodied the Rwandan values of Ubumuntu: Humanity and Greatness of Heart. Her belief shone in her life and acts.

For the:

stranger, you shared your home
lonely you shared your heart
vulnerable you opened your wings
downtrodden you sought justice

You can’t choose your parents, but I’d always have chosen you. We only say farewell dearest Mother, for your values and legacy, live on.… Read the rest

Stephen D. Smith

We are not very good at dying, and yet, it is the one thing in our lives that we are all certain to do sometime. It is one of the great acts of living – some die in valor, some in pain, some young, others old – and my mother has been preparing for it every day of her life.

As I write this I am sitting at my mother’s bedside listening to her breathe. It’s just the two of us and the night. There are wires and machines hooked up to her. On occasion, nurses barge in a flurry of light and needles.… Read the rest

Stuart Bower

Dearest Mother

It hasn’t yet sunk in that you will no longer be at Bethany. You leave an aching void , but we also know you have run the race with boldness, focus and determination and received your eternal reward in the Heavenlies. We love you so much.

It is the most amazing privilege to have received your love and encouragement throughout my life. You laid down your life for me and my family again and again. Gave me self respect , loved me and forgave me when I didn’t deserve it. Helped me fight my own shortcomings.… Read the rest

Hilary Mendelsson

Dear Stephen, James, grandchildren and family. In the Jewish tradition I wish you long life. My words echo all the tributes to Marina a woman of supreme worth, a woman whose price was truly above rubies. On a personal level I share your sadness. A light has gone out of our personal world and of the world at large. Only three weeks ago when she must’ve been feeling very ill she took the trouble to send me flowers on the anniversary of my beloved Steve’s death with her usual loving and comforting words.… Read the rest

Frances Segelman Petchey

It is with great sadness I heard the news of the passing of Marina. She was without doubt one of the loveliest people I have ever met. Her amazing life story will never be forgotten by so many people’s lives that she has touched. I feel so privileged that I was able to sculpt her at Beth Shalom and get to know her through my sculpting and then to be able to see her face when the bust was unveiled was so moving.

Sending love to all her family

From Frances… Read the rest

Iona Nunes-Mayo

Dear James, Stephen, Eddie, Natalia, Aaron, Steph, Ariella, Seth, Sebastian, and all the extended family,

We were so very saddened to hear of the passing of Marina, our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this sad and difficult time.
There are few people in this world who leave a legacy and Marina has done just that. She will be remembered for now by many but also she will be remembered forever. History will not forget her.
Let your hearts be filled with joy from all the happy memories you have of Marina rather than sadness at your loss.… Read the rest

Audrey Ho

It was foolish, I know, to think that you would always be here. When I look back, you have been a vital part of my life and conscience for over half of my life. You opened your home and welcomed me to this country and showed me what goodness and kindness means. Compassion, Grace, Love, Generousity, Forgiveness, Faithfulness, Truth – you showed me the meaning of these, not through words but through your deeds. You were the epitome of a steadfast heart and mind.

I have so many memories of you and will miss you dearly, mother of my heart.… Read the rest

Shirley Boarer

I didn’t know what to say on receiving the unexpected and devastating news about the passing away of Marina Smith who had been such an important part of my life and that of my family. How can I sum up in a few lines what she meant to us and to so many others? For many years, she was a Mother to me, to us, and it is impossible to imagine life without her because she was always there.

We first met ‘Mother’ in 1984 when our older son was only 4 months old. (Our second son was born the following year.)… Read the rest

Lawrie Boarer

The Matriarch of Beth Shalom

When Mrs Smith’s reputation as a counsellor first reached our ears, she had already established, as a Methodist Ministers wife, a unique family home of loving care and had followed this up with her husband and sons, Beth Shalom, a house of peace. Her family would be able to be extended to include others and her counselling and love and acceptance would help many. She was already known internationally.

It was 6 years into the life of Beth Shalom, some 38 years ago, that Shirley and I first came to Beth Shalom.… Read the rest

Louise Heilbron

As a Holocaust Educator I visited Laxton a number of times.
what a thoughtful, kind lady Marina was and a wonderful hostess
I had the privilege of a delicious birthday lunch at Laxton with Eddie and Eve Oppenheimer – the three of us shared a birthday and I think of both of them each year on June 23rd
My thoughts are with Stephen and James and all the family.
Marina’s legacy lives on
Louise Heilbron… Read the rest

Shamea Lee

Over a long period of time, especially in her ‘retirement’ years and right up to the Covid19 lockdown, to raise funds in support of the genocide prevention and humanitarian work of Aegis Trust, Mrs Marina Smith always held wonderful garden tea parties in the Spring and summer and various special events in her cosy home, Bethany during the colder months. These was despite a incredibly busy schedule of hosting visitors, churning a mountain load of correspondences, fielding numerous phone calls day and night and still finding time to record volumes of memoirs for posterity ( she is the one who knew the whole story from beginning to end and inside out too).… Read the rest

Inge David

Dearest Friend Marina,

First I met Stephen and James at a Nuernberg/Fuerth reunion in the Catskill Mountains of New York; I was so impressed with what they had to say that I just had to meet this very special lady, Marina. When my friend Henry and I came to England to visit family, we made sure to include the very special Holocaust Centre in our plans. Our visit with you was a particular highlight of our visit. We loved our visit with you and I dedicated a rose in memory of a beloved aunt and uncle who were murdered in Auschwitz.… Read the rest

Gary Mills

I, my family and my friends and colleagues at the University of Nottingham are deeply saddened to hear the news of Marina’s passing. She was a remarkable women and loved by all those lucky enough to call the Centre our home. I have had the privilege of attending many events at the Centre and witnessed first hand how the Survivors would spontaneously embrace Marina and Eddie. She has done so much for so many over a very long and highly distinguished life and career.

It has been inspiring to read of her time as a school teacher and in my work with her I was always struck by the delighted enthusiasm she showed when in the presence of young people.… Read the rest

Peter Briess

No one could be left untouched by Marina’s kindness and thoughtfulness!
To have had the deep feeling and empathy to conceive the opening of the Memorial Centre was quite extraordinary. No thanks are enough for what she and your family have done.
We will always remember the wonderful hospitality she offered us when I visited with my son David and his daughters Alexandra and Annabelle and were offered splendid tea in her charming home. It was exactly 7 years before she left us!… Read the rest

Lucinda O’Rourke

I remember so well when you and your family arrived at Cliff ~College to speak, 1978 I recall. Steven was about 14 yrs old and led worship. I was a student there then. Your family were clearly anointed and I felt that even then. My parents Liz and Bob Grainger came to Bethshalom many times, at that time as part of a small house fellowship where they learned so many Biblical spiritual truths from Marina.

Marina invited me to come to Beth Shalom on a number of occasions, we always had tea, lovely cake or cookies and chatted..… Read the rest

David Brown

If you never met Marina Smith, I couldn’t begin to describe what a remarkable lady she was. If you did meet her, you wouldn’t need me to. So many would say, “How on earth did Stephen and James create the Holocaust Centre and Aegis Trust?” Then they’d meet Marina and say, “Ah … now it makes sense.”

A monumental influence on my life, she was a teacher, counsellor, confidant and leader who inspired not just appreciation, affection and respect, but a sense of awe for her closeness to the Divine.… Read the rest

Tom Prinold

Our Mother has left us. We cannot believe it. She who was always there is now in eternity. If ever there was a one ready it was she. Not only was she ready she was ALWAYS ready.

She lived her life to the full here on earth, yet she always had her eyes on eternity. That is the goal – that was her goal! That’s the real thing. HERE is the preparation for THERE, a journey to heaven. She encouraged others to make ready too and to be always ready in our lives and our daily walk with that in mind.

She had a special work to do here on earth and she has done it. … Read the rest

Hanneke Dye

Dear Marina
The last time we had lunch with you, dear Marina, was on the 21st of April 2022

We did not realise that this would be the last time.

Your inspiration and courage how you dealt with your declining health was remarkable. You always had a smile even if you were in pain. You have set such a strong example for all of us to follow. You will live on in our thoughts and every time we visit Beth Shalom and see your bust you will be with us.
Many thanks for giving the survivors of the Holocaust to find a home where they feel safe.… Read the rest

Liz Grainger

My wonderful spiritual Mother you helped to change my life and helped me through so many dark years
You showed me what real love is and always pointed me to Jesus. You showed me by your life and your love for me. You always prayed for me and for my family and when we moved away to Wales I cried for 2 years or more because I was separated from you. I am not crying now because you are with Jesus and in not too many years I will be with you but there is a huge gap in my heart and on this earth because you’re no longer here with us.… Read the rest

John Bower

My dearest Mother and best friend on this earth, the great debt I owe you cannot adequately be expressed. What an amazing life you have lived. Your life-changing, world-changing work has been so unique and precious. It is going to continue. The rivers of life will continue to flow out into this needy world. Meanwhile, you have run your excellent race, fought the fight, finished the course and gone to your eternal reward, and though this time is painful for those who are left, it is also very precious, with all my love.… Read the rest

Susan Hadden

It is with great sadness that I read the email yesterday informing me that dear Marina had passed away. Marina was a very special person, with a very special soul. From the first moment when she hugged me over 20 years ago coming off the coach, when I first visited the Holocaust Centre, I knew she was a unique incredible person. Kindness poured out of her, she had such empathy and understanding for humanity and for those that suffered such horrific times in their lives. I last saw her pre covid when I visited her and dear Eddie at the cottage.… Read the rest