STUDENTS at Studley High School were given an insight into the horrors of the Holocaust when they welcomed survivor Ernest Simon to the Crooks Lane school.
Mr Simon was an Austrian living in Vienna prior to the Second World War and shared his story of how he came to the UK in 1939 via the Kindertransport to flee the Nazis.
He was just eight years old.
At the time he didn’t realise he was part of an organised rescue effort and was one of the 10,000 children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Free City of Danzig that the UK offered sanctuary to.
Many of those children Ernest travelled with would never see their families again as they all would perish in the systematic killing of the Jewish people in the Holocaust.
Ernest was more fortunate, his parents and brother managed to get out a few months later on domestic permits. However, they could not be together as a family immediately.
Ernest was sent to live with a foster family and his father was interned as an ‘enemy alien’. It was not until 1942 that the family was finally united.
One of his vivid memories, prior to leaving Vienna was stood watching the burning of prayer books and the Torah in the street below.
What he did not know was that he was witnessing Kristallnacht, the infamous evening in November 1938 when Nazis attacked Jewish persons and property.
Mr Simon’s testimony was part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Outreach Programme, and it was followed by a question and answer session with the pupils.
Karen Pollock MBE, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: “We impart the history of the Holocaust to young people, to ensure we honour the memory of those whose lives were lost and take forward the lessons taught by those who survived.”