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Posted on July 12th 2017

Holocaust Survivor Shares Testimony with Year 8

Harry Bibring, a Holocaust survivor, visited us on July 11 to share his testimony with our Year 8 girls.

Holocaust talk

Harry told of his fond memories of living with his family in Austria, his hobby of ice skating and his school days that he shared with his sister Gerty.

However, for Harry, his childhood soon came to an end shortly after the events Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) and he soon realised he could no longer ice skate, go swimming or even go to the park at certain times. This was because he was a Jew.

Personal account

Harry shared with our students the painful memories of being denied back in to his school and having to go to a separate school where only Jews went. Students are aware of the persecution and the cruelty that minorities faced all over Nazi-occupied Europe; but for them hearing it from a personal account shook them.

Harry’s father realised that the situation at home wasn’t going to get better, especially after witnessing his family and friends having to wash the streets with water filled with acid, and that the Nazi rule was only going to cause more suffering.

Emotional journey

On the 13th March 1938, Harry and his sister Gerty were transported to London to escape any more persecution. They never saw their parents again. Harry shared his final letters from his father and his mother and recalled the worry and anguish he felt at being away from them. Harry's father died shortly after he left of a heart attack on the way to a concentration camp. Three years after his death, letters from Harry's mum became fewer. Harry came to his own conclusions of his mothers death and it was later confirmed she died at a death camp.

Harrys emotional journey further pushed our girls to ask inquisitive questions to extend their knowledge of history. One asked: “How did you experience of the Blitz in London?”. 

The day ended with the Year 8 walking away with a better understanding of prejudice, and they all vowed to Harry that they will pass on the messages from today's lesson to their peers and family.