In January, the Upper and Lower Sixth History students watched a live Webcast with a Holocaust survivor Mala Tribich. Abbey Gate College were one of only 500 schools globally to take part. This emotional webcast was in commemoration of National Holocaust Day. This event takes place on this day every year as it signifies the Soviet Union liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945.
The Holocaust is considered to be the worst genocide in recorded history. It saw certain religions and races persecuted without any reason other than as a consequence of the deluded beliefs of Adolf Hitler and The Nazi Party. Around 6 million Jewish people died between 1939 and 1945 as a result of the Nazi’s actions throughout Europe and it is somewhat of an understatement to say that it was truly moving to hear the experiences of a survivor of such an atrocity.
Mala, unflinchingly, talked us through her experiences of The Holocaust. The Polish born lady, now 87, spoke defiantly of how Nazi treatment tried to dissolve the fundamentals of her life. She was left orphaned, with little hope and even less possessions. The webcast began with Mala explaining how, at the age of 7, she was deported from her home, Piotrkow Trybunalski, and put into a Ghetto with 28,000 other Jewish people. This was the first ghetto in Poland. She lost her childhood immediately and in some ways it seemed impossible to relate to Mala given the fact we are so lucky today. Nonetheless, it does not take a lot to realise that the conditions in which Mala was forced to live were deplorable as she was stripped of all her human rights. As well as losing all quality of life, she also lost family members; her mother and sister were brutally murdered in a nearby forest by Nazi officials who now occupied her home town and her father was killed just days before the end of the war.
Following the death of her mother and sister, she was deported to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp before being transported to Bergen-Belsen. Here she was subject to the worst conditions and appalling overcrowding, which in turn led to her contracting Typhus. Mala throughout the webcast was unnerved about giving us the details of her enslavement, starvation and desperation. In April 1945, her time in the camp came an end, as British soldiers liberated Bergen-Belsen. She described at the time of liberation wondering why people were running and wondering how they had the energy to do so. She spoke briefly about her life afterwards and explained how a charitable organisation had brought her to Britain to be reunited with her brother and how they helped get her back on her feet.
The hope of the Holocaust Educational Trust, who hosted this webcast, is to prevent any future genocides and teach the importance of tolerance today. Their ultimate aim is to prevent such horrors ever happening again. We feel honoured to have heard Mala’s testimony.
Published: Tuesday, 7th March 2017