Born in Germany in 1885, Dr Alfred Wiener became a central figure in the documentation of Nazi and anti-Nazi literature during the Holocaust, forming a collection that would become known as the Wiener Library – a national resource which continues to document and educate about genocide.
Holocaust survivor Esther Brunstein was 11 when Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany. In this testimony, Esther describes life before the War, anti-semitic persecution, life in the Łódź Ghetto, deportation to Auschwitz, and life after liberation.
David Berger was born in 1915 in Przemysl, south-east Poland. He left his hometown when the Germans invaded in 1939 and was shot dead in Vilnius, Lithuania two years later in 1941 at just 19 years of age.
Istvan Domonkos was a young Hungarian Jew whose father was an administrator for the Budapest Jewish Council. In this testimony he describes Nazi persecution of Hungarian Jews, the death of his mother, and how Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg enabled him and his father to escape from Hungary.
Nicole David and her parents were living in Belgium when Nazi Germany invaded in 1940. In this testimony she describes growing up as a young girl in constant fear of arrest and deportation, living in hiding, separation from her parents, and the deportation of her mother.
Holocaust survivor Ruzena Deutschova was deported from Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1944. In this testimony she describes being separated from her mother and siblings during selection at Auschwitz, surviving the War, and rebuilding her life as a Jewish Slovakian.
Lily Ebert was 14 when the Nazis deported her from her Hungarian hometown to Auschwitz. As part of our 2011 Hidden Histories project Lily talked about the gold pendant which remarkably survived the Camp with her.
Holocaust survivor Harry Fox was nine when the Nazis took over his town in central Poland. This short summary of his life describes life in a ghetto, as a slave labourer, in a succession of concentration camps, and on a death march. Harry Fox died in 2012.
Holocaust survivor Roman Halter survived in the Łódź Ghetto for nearly four years before it was liquidated and he was sent to Auschwitz. In this testimony he describes surviving as a slave labourer, escaping a death march, and the tragic consequences for a German couple who sheltered him and two of his friends as the war neared its end. Roman Halter died in 2012.
John Hajdu is a survivor of the Holocaust in Hungary and lived under the subsequent socialist regime in Budapest. Having lived in the UK since 1957, John’s experiences of life after the Holocaust and as a refugee tell of the turmoil of post-World War Two Europe.
Hedy Klein was born in Oradea, in Romania, and was 16 when the Nazis entered her hometown, which had been absorbed into Hungary and renamed Nagyvarad. She was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, and then worked as a slave labourer in a munitions factory. After the war, she left Romania illegally and went to Canada.
HMDT Honorary President Ben Helfgott MBE grew up in Poland. He spent his formative years as a slave labourer, in a ghetto, and in several concentration camps. This educational life story describes Ben's experiences during the war, and his remarkable life after settling in the UK as a 15 year old.
This documentary film follows the story of 89 year old Holocaust survivor Iby Knill. In July 1944 in Auschwitz Iby promised a young twin that she would tell the world about her story. It took 60 years before Iby could finally talk about what happened in Auschwitz.
Iby Knill was transported to Auschwitz from Hungary in 1944. As part of our 2011 Hidden Histories project Iby told us about her father's watch chain. Her father threw the chain to Iby's brother as he was being marched away to be deported to his death.
Jack Kagan grew up in Novogrodek, in modern day Belarus. He fought as part of the Jewish partisan resistance. Here, he talks about the Magen David from Novogrodek's synagogue, all that is left from a once thriving Jewish culture in the town.
Zahava Kohn is a Holocaust survivor. Sixty years after her liberation she found a mysterious suitcase tucked away at the back of a cupboard with no idea what it would contain. This chance find would reveal a wealth of incredible artefacts from those wartime years, including photographs, documents and letters. Surviving the decades after the war, these relics were discovered in pristine condition and provide a fascinating insight into how Zahava’s family weathered the storm of Nazi persecution.
Janusz Korczak was an inspirational teacher and writer who cared passionately about the rights and welfare of children. He founded an orphanage in Warsaw and stayed with the children through the Ghetto and transport to the Treblinka death camp.
In this life story for HMD 2014, Freddie describes his journey - fleeing Austria to Belgium, imprisonment in a camp in France, deportation to Auschwitz and a death march to Bergen-Belsen.
Anita Lasker-Wallfisch played the cello in the orchestra at Auschwitz, surviving for nearly a year. Here she describes her wartime experiences, surviving the Holocaust, and being liberated from the horrendous conditions at Bergen-Belsen.
Malka Levine was born in 1939 in Vladimir-Volinsk in western Ukraine. Her mother managed to protect and hide her three children throughout the Holocaust, first surviving in the town's ghetto, and then hiding for nine months in a hole in a local farmer's barn.
20 year old Trude Levi was deported to Auschwitz from Budapest in 1944. In this harrowing testimony she describes conditions in the camp, life as a slave labourer at Buchenwald, and on death marches at the end of the war. Trude Levi died in 2012.
Philipp Manes was a Jewish businessman living in Berlin. In 1942 he was sent to Theresiesnstadt Concentration Camp where he participated in the Jewish self-administration of the Camp. He was transported to Auschwitz in 1944. In this podcast Dr Klaus Leist reads excerpts of the book As if it were life by Philipp Manes.
Sabina Miller and her family were forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto, where they contracted typhus. Her parents died, but Sabina managed to escape and survive the war by hiding out in the Polish countryside and living under assumed identities. As part of our HMD 2011 Hidden Histories project Sabina told us about the cardigan her mother bought her just before war broke out in 1939. For HMD 2015 Sabina met with illustrator Kimberley Burrows as part of our Memory Makers project.
Filmmaker and animator Gemma Green-Hope met Holocaust survivor Ivor Perl at his family home. Ivor was just 12 years old when he was taken to Auschwitz, and survived with the help of his older brother and several strokes of fortune. Gemma and Ivor discussed family, memory and hope – and how the lessons of the past can shape our future. Gemma created this animated response to Ivor’s story.
Susan Pollack MBE was born in Hungary in 1930, and was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in May 1944. Her mother was murdered and her brother had to work in the gas chambers. Susan worked as a slave labourer before narrowly escaping death at Bergen-Belsen, where she was liberated in April 1945.
Every Holocaust survivor has a different story. This is certainly true for the story of the three Oppenheimer children, Eve, Rudi and Paul, who were fortunate to survive for five years under the Nazis in Holland, and in the camps of Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen, and who finished up on ‘The Last Train from Belsen'.
Imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto along with hundreds of thousands of Jews, and correctly believing that they were facing certain death, the historian Emanuel Ringelblum organised the Oneg Shabbat archive to record the details of their life and the conditions in the ghetto. The archive was code named Oneg Shabbat, meaning ‘the pleasures of the Sabbath’.
Avram and Vera were drawn by artist Gideon Summerfield as part of his project From Generation to Generation (L’Dor V’Dor). Avram and Vera are both survivors of the Holocaust and have been married for 62 years.
The Sonderkommando, or ‘Special Squads’, were work units in the Nazi death camps. They consisted of male, mainly Jewish, prisoners who were forced to work in and around the crematoria of several of the Nazi death camps. Members of the Sonderkommando would be regularly replaced, with the new members being responsible for taking the bodies of their predecessors to the crematoria once they too had been murdered in the gas chambers.
In this testimony Holocaust survivor Renee Salt describes conditions in the ghetto in Zdunska-Vola in Poland, the agony of repeated 'selections', transport to Auschwitz, slave labour, and liberation in horrific conditions at Bergen-Belsen.
Zigi Shipper is a survivor of the Holocaust. As a child, he experienced the Łódź Ghetto and several camps including Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was liberated after surviving a death march and came to England. Today, Zigi speaks to thousands of students in schools across the UK, and is committed to sharing his story and teaching the dangers of hatred.
Janine Webber was born in Lvov in 1932. She survived the Holocaust by moving between hiding places in occupied Poland, witnessing the Nazis seizing her brother and father in the process.
Simon Winston is from the Ukraine. He is a survivor of the Holocaust. In this Untold Stories film he speaks about the experience of escaping the Ghetto with his family and living in hiding.
As a boy, Elie Wiesel survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald camps. As an adult, he dedicated himself to commemorating the Holocaust and to ensuring its lessons were learnt. He was an acclaimed author and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He died on 2 July 2016, aged 87.
When Bea Green was 8 years old, her father was brutally beaten by the SA and forced to walk through the streets of Munich with a placard around his neck, because he was Jewish. When he returned home, Bea saw her father’s blood stained clothes – a memory that would stay with her. She later left Germany on the Kindertransport and came to the UK as a refugee.
In this educational resource for secondary age students, Blanche Benedick tells her story of escape from the Nazis. Blanche's family were Jewish and lived in Nazi-occupied Denmark - they were helped to escape to Sweden by Danish and Swedish people who risked their lives to help them make the crossing by boat.
Nine year old Martha Blend excaped from Austria on the Kindertransport in 1938, leaving her parents behind. Here she describes her life in Austria, the journey to the UK, and the fate of her family left behind.
Nine year old Martha Blend escaped from Austria on the Kindertransport in 1938, leaving her parents behind. As part of our 2011 Hidden Histories project Martha showed us her autograph book which she brought to the UK with her.
Wolf Blomfield came to Britain as a Kindertransport boy in March 1939, when he had just turned ten. In this testimony he describes his journey, the reasons for leaving, and his life since leaving his father behind.
In this podcast we talk to Leisel Carter. Leisel left Germany at the age of four in 1939, before war broke out. She travelled through Norway to escape to safety in England. Incredibly, she travelled part of the journey alone.
Lady Milena was born in Czechoslovakia in 1929. Her father was recommended to leave Czechoslovakia the day before the Nazis invaded because he was both Jewish and a supporter of an anti-Nazi author.
Albert Friedlander was 11 years old in 1938 and living in Berlin. On the night of 9-10 November, the Nazis organised a night of violence and destruction against Jewish buildings and properties. As a Jewish boy, Albert had distinct memories of that time.
In this podcast Kindertransportee Martin Kapel describes how his family was forced into Poland from Germany by the Nazis, and his journey on the Kindertransport by ship from Poland to England.
Ann Kirk was born in Berlin, Germany in 1928. In 1933 the Nazis came to power and everything changed for Ann and her family. After the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938, when Ann was 10, she travelled to the UK alone on the Kindertransport.
Susanne Kenton is a Kindertransport refugee. Born Susanne Flanter in Berlin, where she spent the first 13 years of her life, Susanne was driven to flee her country of birth by the rise of Nazism and the horrors of Kristallnacht.
Bob Kirk was born in Hanover, Germany in 1925. In 1933 the Nazis came to power and everything changed for Bob and his family. After the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938, at the age of 13, Bob travelled to the UK alone on the Kindertransport.
Bernd Koschland was born in Germany in 1931. Shortly after the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis began Bernd travelled to England alone on the Kindertransport. Here Bernd recollects his experiences and how they have influenced his life. He feels that it is important to share his experiences with people on Holocaust Memorial Day. Throughout his testimony Bernd uses the term Jewish ‘FTSE’ as a metaphor for his sense of Jewish identity.
Eve was born in Germany, and was seven years old in 1938 when Kristallnacht – the night of the broken glass – took place. Her family was torn apart by the Nazis, her parents survived concentration camps, her youngest sister forced into hiding, and Eve and her other sister sent to America and into foster homes. Remarkably, they were all reunited in 1946.
Collage artist Martin O’Neill and animator Andrew Griffin met Holocaust survivor Bettine Le Beau at her north London home, as part of the HMD 2015 Memory Makers project. Bettine survived the Holocaust in France as a child, and went on to become a Bond girl and film star. This is Martin and Andrew’s visual and animated response to Bettine’s story. Bettine died in September 2015.
Vera Schaufeld, formerly Vera Lowyova, was saved by a man who refused to stand by, Sir Nicholas Winton. She was born in Prague in 1930. In May 1939, following the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia, Vera was told that she must move to England on her own. She was only nine years old.
Margret is a German Jewish Refugee. She fled Nazi persecution, leaving her family behind and then settled in the UK. In this Untold Stories film she speaks about the perseuction which drove her family from Germany, how she escaped to England, and the fate of her relatives left behind to face the Holocaust.
Joan Salter is a child survivor of the Holocaust. Born Fanny Zimetbaum in Brussels on 15 February 1940 to Polish Jewish parents, she was three months old when Belgium was invaded by the Nazis.
Eye-witness accounts held by the Wiener Library taken immediately following the state-sanctioned campaign of hatred against Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe on the 9/10 November 1938 were translated for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). Account B8 - experiences in a concentration camp.
Eye-witness accounts held by the Wiener Library taken immediately following the state-sanctioned campaign of hatred against Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe on the 9/10 November 1938 were translated for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). Account B30 - deportation to Poland.
Eye-witness accounts held by the Wiener Library taken immediately following the state-sanctioned campaign of hatred against Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe on the 9/10 November 1938 were translated for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). Account B74 - vandalism and arrest.
Eye-witness accounts held by the Wiener Library taken immediately following the state-sanctioned campaign of hatred against Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe on the 9/10 November 1938 were translated for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). Account B78 - destruction of shops and synagogues.
Eye-witness accounts held by the Wiener Library taken immediately following the state-sanctioned campaign of hatred against Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe on the 9/10 November 1938 were translated for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). Account B104 - attacks on shops and homes.
Eye-witness accounts held by the Wiener Library taken immediately following the state-sanctioned campaign of hatred against Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe on the 9/10 November 1938 were translated for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). Account B156 - theft, humiliation and cruelty.
Eye-witness accounts held by the Wiener Library taken immediately following the state-sanctioned campaign of hatred against Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe on the 9/10 November 1938 were translated for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). Account B243 - a plea for help from abroad from a 17 year old whose family was devastated by Kristallnacht.
Eye-witness accounts held by the Wiener Library taken immediately following the state-sanctioned campaign of hatred against Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe on the 9/10 November 1938 were translated for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). Account P.II.d. 98 - protecting the Torah scrolls, and organised burglary from the witness' home.
Eye-witness accounts held by the Wiener Library taken immediately following the state-sanctioned campaign of hatred against Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe on the 9/10 November 1938 were translated for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). Account P. II d. 195 - injuries, destitution, and accommodating three families in one flat.
Eye-witness accounts held by the Wiener Library taken immediately following the state-sanctioned campaign of hatred against Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe on the 9/10 November 1938 were translated for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). Account P.II.d.751 - police refuse to assist when a mob attacks a Jewish home.
Gino Bartali was an Italian cycling legend having won the gruelling Tour de France twice, once prior to and once after World War Two. But the true heroism of Bartali’s actions went far beyond his prowess on the bike, as he used his sporting fame to help save the lives of many Jewish people.
Sydney and Golda Bourne (previously Baum) saved the life of one Jewish German girl by agreeing to look after her as part of the Kindertransport program. Today, Susanne Kenton and her family remember the people who enabled her to survive in the face of genocide and tyranny
Jef van Bebber was a Dutch Roman Catholic who sheltered numerous Jewish people in his house over two years between 1942 and 1944. His house was raided and Jef was sent to a concentration camp, where he was executed.
Frank Foley who was born in 1884, worked for the Foreign Office and became Head of the British Passport Control Office in Germany. Foley was in fact Britain’s most senior spy in Berlin. During his time in Berlin, Foley is known to have saved an estimated 10,000 German Jews. This remarkable man also visited internment camps to get Jewish people out, hide them in his home, and helped forge passports.
Dr Feng Shan Ho was a Chinese diplomat posted to Vienna, Austria. After Austria's annexation by the Nazis, Ho issued thousands of visas to Austrian Jews, enabling them to escape Nazi Persecution. Yad Vashem in Jerusalem awarded Feng-Shan Ho the title of ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ for his humanitarian courage.
Paul Grüninger was a policeman and footballer in Switzerland who helped thousands of Austrian Jews fleeing persecution. He illegally allowed them to cross the border to Switzerland between August 1938 and April 1939. He was recognised as a Righteous Among the Nations in 1971, a year before his death.
This 2013 educational resource for secondary school aged students tells the story of Miep Gies, the woman who supported Anne Frank and her family when they were in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam.
Irena Sendlerowa was a social worker in Warsaw, who directed a children’s rescue group to smuggle Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto - providing them with false papers and placing them with substitute Polish families. Records that Irena kept showed that she was able to save nearly 2,500 children from certain death under the Nazis.
Five students from Munich University and one of their professors challenged the Nazi regime by forming the White Rose group and beginning a secret campaign. They asked the German people to react to the violence and oppression which were all around them by standing up and fighting for freedom. In June 1942 four leaflets, published in quick succession, with the title Leaflets of the White Rose appeared all over the city of Munich.
In May 1939 the SS St Louis left the port of Hamburg in Germany and set sail for Havana in Cuba. On board were 937 Jewish passengers. They were German Jews fleeing Nazi persecution and hoping to start new lives. They planned to seek asylum in Cuba. This 2011 education case study tells the story of the passengers and Captain Gustav Schroeder.
Sir Nicholas Winton was born in Hampstead, London in 1909. For nine months in 1939 he rescued 669 children from Czechoslovakia, bringing them to the UK, thereby sparing them from the horrors of the Holocaust. Sir Nicholas died in July 2015, aged 106.
The 6 million + installation, which contains over six million buttons, has caught the imagination of thousands of people, inspiring a Yorkshire local authority to build the region’s first permanent Holocaust memorial.
The Holocaust Centre was founded in 1995 by the Smith family, at their farmhouse in rural Nottinghamshire. Survivor talks, education sessions and two permanent exhibitions are housed within the Centre, which is surrounded by over an acre of beautifully landscaped memorial gardens.
Holocaust survivor Raphael Lemkin coined the word ‘genocide’ and helped establish the term in international law. Shocked and saddened by massacres throughout history, as well as the murder of his family by the Nazis, he longed for accountability for deplorable acts committed by countries within their own borders, campaigning tirelessly to reach his goal.
Iolo Lewis was part of the British 11th Armoured Division, which liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945. Iolo wrote a poem based on his experience called 'Belsen Silence'.