HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS SPEAK TO HISTORY STUDENTS

HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS SPEAK TO HISTORY STUDENTS

Two presentations from Holocaust survivors Harry Grenville and Arieh Simonsohn were well received by Year 11 history students at the Wey Valley School.

The history students who had been learning about life in Germany from 1918-45 for their GCSE studies were told about the darkest periods of 20th century history.

Charlotte Guest, Wey Valley’s head of history said, “Mr Grenville and Mr Simonsohn have been kind enough to visit us and share their experiences of the Holocaust.  It is important for the students to hear a personal testimony - they get so much from it and are very respectful of these very articulate gentlemen.”

Harry Grenville’s parents and grandmother died in the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz in 1944 after spending two years in Theresienstadt, an internment camp in the former Czechoslovakia.  
 
Mr Grenville told the students "The last Red Cross message that ever came from them was in October 1944. It said they were expecting to go east, and we knew what 'east' meant because all the Theresienstadt internees knew that east meant the extermination camps in Poland”. 
 
Mr Grenville added, "They were moved there in these dreadful cattle trucks, from the internment camp to the extermination camps, where most of them were killed very soon after arriving.”

Mr Simonsohn recollected to students his time spent in the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland as a child but he was able to escape.
 
The students said they felt privileged to share the testimony of someone who had a child's view of the Holocaust, and it helped them put that period of history into perspective.
 
Student, Esther Bibby said ‘It was a very interesting discussion about the 1940s and you got a real insight in to what it was actually like’. 

Louis Hankin also said ‘it was inspiring and overwhelming to hear a testimony from someone who has actually experienced the Holocaust’.  Nathan Stroud added ‘it was very humbling to hear his story’.

Simon Mitchen, part of the Humanities team added, ‘Nothing can give you a better experience of what it was like than hearing it from someone who was there’.

Mr Grenville, who has lived much of his life in Dorchester, was fostered by a family in Camelford, Cornwall, and educated at a local grammar school.
 
Harry’s parents and grandmother are now remembered with plaques on pavement blocks outside their former home in Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart, where they ran a wholesale packaging company.