On Tuesday 3rd December, Year 9 Hayle Academy students and Humanities Faculty, heard testimony from Holocaust survivor, Mala Tribich MBE, as part of a visit organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET). Her full story can be found here https://www.marchoftheliving.org.uk/survivor-story/mala-tribich/
Using propaganda, new legislation and persecution, Jews were denied human and civil rights and in 1941 the murders began. Known as the Holocaust, the Nazis planned to murder all Jews across Europe in mass shootings using death firing squads. Then, to carry these murders out on a much larger scale, concentration and extermination camps (gas chambers) were introduced. By the end of the Holocaust more than 6 million Jewish men, women and children were murdered.
Mala hopes that telling her personal Holocaust story will encourage students to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and make a positive difference in their own lives, and the understanding of what happens when racism and prejudice become acceptable.
Mala’s testimony was followed by a question and answers session which helped students to better understand the nature of the Holocaust and explored its lessons in more depth. Some students asked the following questions:
Do you ever get Flashbacks?
Yes, I still do as I cannot just abandon that part of my life.
What can people learn from these events? We must all stand up to prejudice and discrimination. Do something, if you see it! Don’t be a bystander.
Did you ever give up hope?
At the camps we were shaved and wore the same clothing, we all looked the same, we were no longer individuals, and stripped of our identities. We no longer felt like human beings, which made some lose hope and without hope – there is no survival.
There seemed no end, things just got worse and worse daily. I do not remember losing or having it –
I just soldiered on. I must have had it, but not consciously!
Did you make any friends and did any of them survive?
I don’t remember making friends as I was too focused on looking after my young cousin. Once we were liberated however, I met other survivors whom I always kept in touch with.
Why do you think you survived? I think the main reason was that they misprinted my birth date, making me older than I actually was, 16, not 14, that made me useful, unlike babies or older adults.
The visit was part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s extensive all year round Outreach Programme, which is available to schools across the UK.
January 27th 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz- Birkenau with many events across the country and on the BBC.