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Memorial Day 2020

Holocaust survivors share heartbreaking wartime experiences with students at Watford Synagogue HMD event

Speaking at a Holocaust Learning event at Watford Synagogue on 4 February 2020, Holocaust survivor Hannah Lewis recalled that the day she saw her beloved mother shot dead by the Nazis was the day her childhood ended. “I saw her lying there with her blood staining the snow and I always say that is when I grew up. I now knew why she wasn’t looking at me when she left, as she always did, and that I mustn’t make a noise.”


Hannah was just eight years old. Her father and his cousin had managed to escape to join the partisans, so Hannah had to fend for herself in the labour camp at Adampol. She was finally liberated in 1945 by a Russian soldier who picked her out of a trench, dirty and starving.

Seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, Watford Synagogue welcomed some 430 students from local schools and West Herts College to a series of Holocaust Memorial Day educational sessions on this year’s theme ‘Stand Together’ on 3, 4 and 6 February. The students, from years 9 to 13, had the rare opportunity to hear a Holocaust survivor recount their personal story first-hand and take part in a workshop relating historical facts about the Holocaust to contemporary issues such as racism, discrimination and personal responsibility. As well as Hannah, this year’s speakers sharing their remarkable stories of survival were Susan Pollack, Rachel (Ruzena) Levy, Ziggy Shipper and Manfred Goldberg.

Holocaust survivor Hannah Lewis

with Mayor Peter Taylor

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