Y9 Holocaust Day
In the morning, the Year 9’s were involved in a workshop, looking at the treatment of the Jews and other minority groups from 1933 onwards, when Hitler came into power. They looked into how the Jews and other ethnic groups were discriminated and treated in Germany and how this worsened after the outbreak of the Second World War and the invasion of Poland in 1939.
In the afternoon, Iby Knill, one of the last remaining survivors from Auschwitz, the Polish concentration camp, came in to talk to us. She shared her life story as a clever, young Jewish girl whose courage and determination meant that she survived to tell her story, unlike many of her friends and family.
She gave us a detailed account of how she was born in Czechoslovakia in 1923, and was educated at a German speaking Grammar school until the age of nine, when she was banned from attending for being a Jew. She then had to abandon her family in 1942 and flee to Hungary, to hide at her cousin’s house, in order to escape being caught by the German soldiers. When she was discovered hiding in Hungary, she was caught, tortured and interrogated by the secret police for information and held for three months in prison. After release, she was arrested as an illegal immigrant and then held for two months in a horrific detention centre. In 1944, as things intensified she was then transported to Auschwitz, where the journey alone took five days. Once there, her hair was shaved, she was stripped of her clothes and everyone but Iby was tattooed (because as she said – they had run out of ink).
She saw a way out of Auschwitz when she was given the opportunity to work as a slave labourer at a different camp. When she left she promised the other prisoners, that she would tell everyone about her experiences, but it took her sixty years to speak about it. Since then she has started giving talks and has written a book “The Woman without a number”.