Year 8 pupils from Allenbourn Middle School in Wimborne have received a very personal insight into the Holocaust and how it impacted on generations of one family.
Their tutor Amber Nash was joined by her mother Professor Audrey Geffen so both women could share the moving story of their grandmother and mother, Hilma Ludomer, who escaped the Gestapo back in 1942.
And in the same week, the students were joined by their peers from St Michael’s CofE Middle, at a special service held at Corfe Hills.
Professor Geffen travelled all the way from Norway to share her family’s experience with the Allenbourn pupils. She told them how her grandparents were murdered in 1942 and left in mass graves in the woods of Riga, Lithuania.
Thankfully, her mother managed to hide and lived through the remainder of the war with false ID papers until liberation, when she went to the USA as a refugee at the age of 20.
“My mother grew up in a normal middle-class family, went to school and enjoyed sports and playing piano,” Professor Geffen said.She didn’t plan on becoming a target of government repression; she didn’t plan on becoming a refugee.
“How can we expect people to show any humanity at all today, if we don’t remember what has happened? I’m living proof that the Nazi genocide did not succeed.
“I shared my mother’s story with the schoolchildren in the hope that they will keep open their hearts and doors to those in need from around the world.”
And at the Holocaust Memorial event held at Corfe Hills, St Michael’s students met Holocaust survivor Walter Kammerling who spoke about his experiences on being saved and how he learned his parents had died in a concentration camp.
Wimborne Academy Trust CEO, Liz West, said, “We feel it is incredibly important that our children learn of the horrors of the Holocaust so such genocide is hopefully never repeated again.
“Both Allenbourn and St Michael’s pupils were very privileged to hear the very moving and personal accounts of Holocaust survivors.
“We are incredibly grateful to our teacher Amber Nash for arranging for her mother to come and speak to children at Allenbourn and for survivors like Walter Kammerling giving our pupils such a profound insight into the impact the Holocaust had on so many lives.”
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