Berkhamsted Group | 20.06.2017

Holocaust survivor talks to Berkhamsted pupils

Holocaust survivor talks to Berkhamsted pupils

Report by Roland Maxted. 

The school welcomed Rudi Oppenheimer as a guest speaker to Y9 in Centenary Theatre. 

Rudi is a survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp who recounted and illustrated his remarkable story to an attentive audience who asked some excellent questions. 

In April 1945, the Oppenheimer children board the last train to leave Bergen-Belsen, to end their horrific ordeal under Nazi imprisonment. After travelling for 14 days they awoke on the train to find that the SS guards had gone; they recognised soldiers from the Russian army and realised they had been liberated.

 Rudi spoke strongly and clearly for 90 minutes, an impressive feat for an 85 year old to remain on his feet for that length of time. The pupils found it an extremely worthwhile talk and are very likely to be the last generation privileged to listen to a Holocaust survivor live. Nick Townsend proposed the vote of thanks and joined Mr Oppenheimer for lunch, together with Charlotte Warne and Josh Grimsdale (pictured). 

Thanks go to Rudi for giving up his time to visit Berkhamsted, and to the Holocaust Educational Trust for making it possible. 

Chief Executive Karen Pollock MBE said “The Holocaust Educational Trust educates and engages students from across the UK, from all communities about the Holocaust and there can be no better way than through the first-hand testimony of a survivor. 

“Rudi’s story is one of tremendous courage during horrific circumstances and by hearing his testimony, students will have the opportunity to learn where prejudice and racism can ultimately lead. 

“At the Trust, we impart the history of the Holocaust to young people, to ensure that we honour the memory of those whose lives were lost and take forward the lessons taught by those who survived.”

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