HMDT Blog: One Day in the future – a photo that tells a story

In our latest blog, Maggie Fleet, granddaughter of Holocaust survivor Steven Frank, tells the story behind a photo of her family taken by The Duchess of Cambridge. Maggie was one of three young people who each shared a photo that relates to One Day in the past, present or future at the launch of our youth photography competition, One Day.

HMDT Blog: One Day in the future – a photo that tells a story

Image: The photo of Maggie Fleet (far left) with her grandfather Steven Frank BEM and sister, Trixie, taken by The Duchess of Cambridge © The Duchess of Cambridge.

 

Maggie explains how the experiences of her grandfather during the Holocaust motivate her to work towards One Day in the future full of kindness and compassion.

‘My story starts in the fruit bowl of this picture. If you look carefully it isn’t all apples – there is a tomato in the bowl. The evening before we were due to go to Kensington palace to have this photo taken by The Duchess of Cambridge, we were asked to bring items that reminded us of our Opa so I decided to bring a tomato and my teddy, and my sister took a hockey stick. The tomato may seem like an odd thing to take but I will now join the dots and connect the significance of the tomato and how it links to the atrocities of the holocaust.

The photo Maggie shared at our youth event © The Duchess of Cambridge

My Opa (grandpa in Dutch) was born in 1935 in Amsterdam. He lived a very happy and privileged childhood, where he was an adored little child of three boys. All of a sudden my Opa and his brothers started to notice that they were no longer allowed out to places their friends could go to due to the fact they were Jewish. One day in January 1943 my Opa’s father left for work, and didn’t come back, he had been betrayed and they never saw him again. Some of my great Opa’s friends pleaded for clemency for my great Opa. They were unsuccessful, however the authorities agreed to put my Opa and his mum and brothers on the Barneveldt list (a list camp for privileged people in Amsterdam). My Opa and his family spent six months in Barneveld and then were taken to Westerbork transit camp where they stayed for a year before being transported to Theresienstadt – the camp they were imprisoned in until the end of the war.

It was whilst my Opa was in Westerbork transit camp, that he learnt how to grow and look after tomatoes. An older man was growing them and my Opa was his little assistant who helped to pull the side shoots from the tomatoes to ensure they grew tall, and watered them when possible. Eventually this man had to leave Westerbork and said to my Opa ‘you are now in charge of these tomato plants’. Despite the tragic circumstances my Opa found himself in, this left him with a huge feeling of responsibility and pride.

In the same way, I feel a huge sense of responsibility and pride in ensuring that these stories are never forgotten and that we can change our world for the better, even during times we are struggling. Every time I hear my Opa’s story, one of the things he talks about which chimes with me is not being a bystander. To me the world is a huge place and we may not be able to change things globally but not being a bystander means being kind and considerate and realising that your kindness, consideration and positivity can go a long way – a lot further than you think.

It may seem completely overwhelming to change the world, however, together we can make the world a better, happier place – simply by giving someone a smile or paying someone a compliment – don’t underestimate your small acts of kindness, as to some people this can mean the world to them. We have the power to uplift others and make people feel included.

Therefore, in the future I would like to see a world full of kindness and positivity regardless of anyone’s race, religion, sexuality, identity, hobbies, tastes, similarities or differences – where we are all accepting individuals who uplift and inspire each other to be better people each day.’


One Day youth photography competition

If you are aged 25 or under, we want you to send us a photo that finishes the sentence ‘One Day…’. The best photos will be displayed in an exclusive exhibition launching in January 2022.

For more information about our youth photography competition, One Day, please click below.

One Day competition

One Day competition

One Day competition

If you are aged 25 or under, we want you to send us a photo that finishes the sentence ‘One Day...’. The best photos will be displayed in an exclusive exhibition.

Find out more