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Stratford Girls' Grammar School Stratford-Upon-Avon
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Holocaust Remembrance Day 2020

The Holocaust Educational Trust announced that Holocaust survivor Susan Pollack MBE would be sharing her testimony on Friday 24th January at 10am in their special webcast to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.  Year 9 SGGS students gathered in the Library for this poignant occasion.  Susan was born in Hungary and was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. She survived working as a slave labourer and was sent on a death march to Bergen-Belsen where she was liberated by British Forces on 15th April 1945.

 

Year 9 student Esme Cornish shared her thoughts after the webcast.

 

On the morning of Friday the 24th of January, the whole of Year Nine gathered in the library to listen to a live webcast. It was an amazing interview of a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust.

When she was less than fifteen years old, Susan Pollack from Hungary was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. It was truly heart-breaking to look back and reflect upon this horror story and let me tell you it’s even more so when it’s told from the mouth of a person who lived through it all. There were definitely a few tears shed. Susan told us, the audience, her story as a teenage girl in the Holocaust.

It was sickening as we heard about the putrid 5-6-day long journey to Auschwitz. We listened to how she travelled and lived amongst piles of corpses, how she was often deprived of food and water and how she coped as a slave-labourer. She fought through it all whilst many (around 50) members of her family were being gassed, beaten and suffering from disease. Despite all this pain Susan was being put through, she never lost her faith in Judaism, God and humanity which is something so admirable- how she was fuelled by hope and not anger.

As questions were being sent in, this apparently unexceptional lady told us all about her emotions and thoughts during the Holocaust, during her liberation and during her freedom. How she was expected to live normally after all the trauma she had been put through. But she did. Susan truly is an exceptional human being, who uses her experiences from this dark time to help others by raising awareness about various other genocides and acts of racism and oppression.

Today, Susan has a loving and growing family. It was a poignant talk that I am so grateful for. I give my thanks to the school and to Susan for giving the year this both educational and touching experience. 

Esme Cornish, Year 9

Published on 27th January 20