Vanessa Feltz has spoken about her own family’s experience as Jewish refugees in the United Kingdom after fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe.
The TV personality was speaking on Thursday’s episode of This Morning with Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby and Matthew Wright when she told her story after hearing from a guest discussing the UK’s migrant crisis.
Conversation turned to the events in the English Channel yesterday, where 27 people, including three children and an expectant mother, drowned while trying to enter the United Kingdom.
Vanessa, whose own ancestors fled from persecution of Jewish people, said it was the ‘most devastating story’.
She said that ‘in a way’, she wished there had been a documentary maker with those who died, so the world would see them as ‘human beings just trying to make a better life for them and their families’.
Vanessa explained: ‘My grandparents and great-grandparents fled the Pogroms of Eastern Europe to come here.
Vanessa feels strongly about the crisis due to her own family having to flee persecution in the 20th century (Picture: ITV)
‘They came here with nothing. My great-grandmother came here with, I think, just feathers from a feather bolster. That was the only thing she could grab when she ran.
‘And I’m alive today and in this country because they were able to gain entry.’
However, she noted that her grandparents and great-grandparents ‘weren’t welcome’ and ‘had a very tough time of it’ when they first arrived to London.
‘Everybody remembers those signs in the windows, and No Jews was among the signs,’ she said.
The panel were horrified at some of the reactions to the tragedy in the English Channel (Picture: ITV)
‘But I thank God every day that we’re here and we’re alive’, she said, ‘and I feel for every one of those people and their families, and something absolutely has to be done to stop this.’
Also in the conversation, radio host Matthew condemned the ‘inhumanity’ seen from some people regarding the crisis.
He revealed that he had a caller to his show last week who said that he would ‘shoot the boats’ if he had the chance.
Matthew Wright revealed a caller to his show had said they would shoot at the boats trying to enter the UK (Picture: ITV)
‘What happens if you hit a child?’ Matthew asked, to which the caller allegedly replied: ‘Well they shouldn’t be coming!’
The panel were shocked, with Holly audibly gasping and saying ‘Oh my God, that is so horrific.’
Phil, however, suggested it was ‘inevitable, sadly, that people would react like that – there will be people who say we don’t want them here’.
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Earlier in the show, activist Clare Mosley of the Care For Calais charity had urged people to reconsider the way they view migrants and refugees.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, responding to the tragedy, said he was said he was ‘shocked, appalled and deeply saddened’.
This Morning airs on ITV and ITV Hub weekdays from 10am.
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