Holocaust survivor and lifelong Leeds United supporter Heinz Skyte passes away aged 99

A veteran Leeds fan who survived the Holocaust has passed away just weeks before his 100th birthday.

By Susie Beever
Friday, 3rd January 2020, 4:35 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 4:37 pm
99-year-old Leeds United fan Heinz Skyte, who has passed away
99-year-old Leeds United fan Heinz Skyte, who has passed away

Tributes have been paid to Heinz Skyte, who has supported the club ever since his first visit to Elland Road at 19-years-old, immediately after stepping off the train that brought him to safety from Nazi Germany.

He sadly passed away aged 99 in hospital over the New Year period, following a short illness.

Heinz was featured in the YEP last month when he attended the home match against Cardiff City as a special guest.

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Heinz has supported Leeds United since watching them at Elland Road aged 19, which was the first thing he did after getting off a train from Nazi Germany

Along with his son Peter, Heinz watched the Whites draw 3-3 with Cardiff after the invitation was organised through the Holocaust Survivor's Friendship Association.

Heinz was forced to flee his home in Fuerth, near Nuremberg, in Kristallnacht in November 1938 - a night where Jewish-owned stores, buildings and synagogues were glassed.

His father was later arrested and taken to Dachau concentration camp where he was held for six weeks.

Heinz was able to escape Germany and join his brother Frank in Leeds, where he got a job in a clothing factory.

Heinz settled in England and married fellow Jewish refugee Thea

However, after the outbreak of WWII in 1939, Heinz and Frank were arrested and sent to an internment camp on the Isle of man, before being moved to Canada where they stayed until 1942.

Heinz later moved back to Leeds, where he married fellow Jewish refugee Thea and had two sons.

A spokesman for Leeds United announced the club learned of Heinz's passing on Friday, paying tributes to the lifelong fan who was due to turn 100 next month.

The club said: "It is with deep sadness that Leeds United have today learnt of the passing of lifelong Leeds United supporter and Holocaust survivor Heinz Skyte, at the age of 99.

Heinz was arrested and put in an internment camp on the Isle of Man after the outbreak of WWII

"Heinz first visited Elland Road 80 years ago when he was just 19 years of age, after stepping off the train that brought him to safety from Nazi Germany.

"Along with his son Peter, Heinz was able to visit the stadium again recently when he was invited as a special guest for the club's fixture against Cardiff City and treated to hospitality with the chance to meet with Chairman Andrea Radrizzani and his wife Nedine Vos.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Heinz at this sad time."

Heinz and Thea were both granted British citizenship in 1947, and he started work for the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board in 1951 before later becoming chief executive.

In 1976, he was awarded MBE for his dedication to community work.

His life story is one of 16 other Holocaust surviviors' featured in an interactive exhibition at the Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre at the University of Huddersfield, which opened in 2018 thanks to funding from the National Lottery.