INFLUENTIAL Jewish novelist Linda Grant helped mark Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations in Haringey by opening an art exhibition on Sunday.

Grant who penned Orange Prize winner When I Lived in Modern Times visited Bruce Castle Museum on Sunday to launch the exhibition Untold Stories: Living Proof — a collection of six portraits of Holocaust survivors.

The paintings were drawn by Haringey artist Silvia Olipitz Gayler, known as Pergosh, who said she tried to capture "their sense of warmth and humanity" and will be on display until March with articles from the former Edmonton and Tottenham Hebrew Congregation.

She added: "I know the survivors continue to give so much of their time to the community, finding the courage to speak about unspeakable events, many of which they witnessed or suffered first hand.

"With haunting memories that are only truly understood amongst themselves, our survivors here today are by their own testament living proof of the Holocaust. I feel deeply honoured that each has permitted me to paint their portrait."

The collection will now form part of the national Public Catalogue Foundation with whom Bruce Castle Museum, in Lordship Lane, has been working.

It means the work will be able to be viewed across the world thanks to the internet.

Tottenham MP David Lammy and Lynne Featherstone MP, who represents Hornsey and Wood Green, both recited poetry at the multi-faith event.

They were joined by Haringey mayor Councillor Eddie Griffith, Haringey Council leader Claire Kober and leader of the opposition Haringey Liberal Democrats Councillor Robert Gorrie.

Rabbi David Mason and Father Simon Clark led communal prayers in the newly-landscaped Holocaust Memorial Garden redesigned by council employee Ellie Mcdonagh with donations from the Tottenham District Charity and bulbs from Hornsey Garden Centre.

A silver birch tree will be planted on January 27 (Thursday) to mark the day itself.