Holocaust survivor talks to pupils about surviving the Nazi occupation
PUBLISHED: 15:32 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:34 27 February 2018
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Holocaust survivor Harry Bibring spoke at length to pupils about his experience of Nazi-occupied Austria and travelling to the UK via Kindertransport.
The talk, at Ormiston Denes Academy on Monday, was organised by the school in conjunction with the Holocaust Educational Trust.
Mr Bibring spoke emotionally about his life as a child in pre-Nazi Vienna, and the changes to Jewish freedom after the annexation of Austria in 1938.
Born in the Austrian capital in 1925, the 92-year-old suffered discrimination and arrest, and eventually fled to the UK as one of nearly 10,000 child refugees that arrived in Britain prior to the outbreak of World War Two through Kindertransport.
He recalled being banned from his favourite post-school hangout, the ice rink, being moved from his grammar school to a standard secondary school, and being forced to live in a flat with more than 40 other Jewish people.
He also spoke about his parent’s death, with his father dying in a heart attack and his mother dying at the Sobibor death camp.
The talk was followed by a short question and answer session with the pupils, with Mr Bibring quizzed on what it was like to cope with the loss of his parents, before he asked the children to promise him never to discriminate against people who are different to them.
Jim Rowbotham, assistant principal at Ormiston Denes Academy, said: “It is a privilege for us to welcome Harry Bibring to our school and his testimony will remain a powerful reminder of the horrors so many experienced.
“We hope that by hearing Harry’s testimony, it will encourage our students to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and make a positive difference in their own lives.”
Chris Pinner, head of history at Ormiston Denes Academy, said: “It is first-hand history and it’s a privelege to have him here.
“I can tell them anything from a book or TV but they all learn better from that first-hand experience.”
“It is such an important message for the town as well with the number of immigrants who have come in and to learn to have that respect towards people is so important for the kids.”
Year 10 student Kia Segev, 15, said: “It was a very interesting and moving experience to have him talk to us and I think everyone learnt a lot from it.”