Auschwitz survivor shares traumatic story of losing entire family with Redbridge pupils

Farnham Green Primary School pupils (left to right) Himarni, Raghavi, Hargun and Dhiya with Holocaus

Farnham Green Primary School pupils (left to right) Himarni, Raghavi, Hargun and Dhiya with Holocaust survivor Susan Pollack MBE. Picture: Angela Maber - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of Redbridge pupils heard the powerful story of a survivor who lost more than 50 members of her family to the Holocaust when she was just a child.

Susan Pollack MBE visited the Farnham Green Primary School in Seven Kings on Thursday, January 16 and told the children her story of witnessing horrific acts of anti-semitism in Hungary as a child and then losing almost her entire family.

At the outbreak of the war her father was separated from the family and later Susan was sent on a cattle truck to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944 along with her mother and brother Laci.

Susan never saw her parents again and though Laci survived she was only able to reunite with him 20 years after the end of the war.

In his time at Auschwitz Laci was forced to move bodies from the gas chamber to the crematorium and following the war he suffered mental health problems.

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Farnham Green deputy head Angela Maber said: "Her message of tolerance, understanding and kindness was inspirational. The children witnessed first hand why it is so important that we learn from the past and were able to consider how this learning could shape the future."

Some of the children in attendance were the same age as Susan was when she was in Auschwitz and they asked her how hard it was to go around retelling her story.

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The talk was attended by about 150 pupils from Farnham Green and nearby Ray Lodge Primary and Ursuline Academy.

Year 6 pupils opened the programme by reading poetry to the 89-year-old survivor who lives in London and travels the country retelling her story.

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