How speaking to a Holocaust survivor affected me

We asked members of our Youth Board about their experiences of speaking to survivors of the Holocaust, and the impact it had on them.

How speaking to a Holocaust survivor affected me

Hearing the first-hand experiences of a survivor of the Holocaust can have a huge impact. It is a powerful way to learn about the past and often people feel inspired to take action as a result of hearing a personal testimony.

This year, members of the HMDT Youth programmes aged 14-25 have the opportunity to suggest questions to ask a survivor of the Holocaust about his experiences. We will ask Dr Martin Stern MBE some of these questions in a short film, which Youth Champions and Youth Advocates can share at their own HMD activities.

We asked members of the Youth Board about their memories and experiences of speaking to survivors of the Holocaust.

Niamh Hanrahan, Youth Board Member

‘I will always remember the first time I heard a survivor of the Holocaust speak. It was a deeply moving and personal experience, one which has really informed my life going forward. To have access to these individuals’ testimony and history is something we should not take for granted. To ask Martin a question about his life experiences is a great and unique opportunity.’


Sohaib Hussain, Youth Board Member

‘I remember HMDT had organised an event to meet survivors in Manchester. Hearing their stories, first hand, about the condition they were in was a real eye-opener. The horrifying conditions they were in - no human should have to ever be in such a condition. It’s just another reason why I work with HMDT to educate and inform people about the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides’


Nikos Souslous, Lead Youth Advocate

'When I met Zigi Shipper at the UK Ceremony for HMD 2016, I asked him why he keeps going to schools and youth groups across the country to tell his story. His answer was brief, but powerful, and I will never forget it. He said, 'There is nothing better for me to do, than to share my testimony with the younger generation'. These words have stayed with me since and serve as a powerful reminder of why the relationship between survivors and young people is so crucial and must be cherished and promoted. Contributing to the youth film is a fantastic opportunity for you to be a vital part of this.’

Anna Cardy, Lead Youth Champion

'The first survivor testimony I ever heard was Susan Pollack. I will never forget the impact that it had on myself and others around me. I always remember her telling us that we are the ones who will carry the memory of the Holocaust forward. Asking a question to a survivor of the Holocaust is such a unique and amazing opportunity and one that we will not have for much longer.’ 


Adam Tanner, Youth Board Member

‘I remember when I first heard Zigi Shipper's story being told at the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in Westminster Abbey. Hearing first-hand the power and strength he had has stuck with me for years. It was this story which lead to me research HMD and become a member of the Youth Board. You can read and watch some amazing books and films about genocide; having the chance to hear from and speak to someone who has been through things we can but imagine is one of the most powerful things imaginable. I implore anyone and everyone to take the opportunity of speaking with a survivor while you can.’

Daisy Williams, Youth Board Member

‘It has been truly humbling to hear stories from survivors. Having the opportunity to ask questions has allowed me to learn more about each person and I have been inspired to share their stories in my own community. As a Youth Champion in 2016, I was inspired to become a Youth Board Member last year where I had even more opportunities to get involved with HMDT.’


Martin was five years old when he was taken to a concentration camp. He now lives in the UK and dedicates his time to sharing his story with groups across the UK and teaching about other genocides. You can read his story and ask him a question here.