Holocaust survivor visits Harold Wood school as part of its anti-racism campaign
- Credit: Denise Lane
A Holocaust survivor who lost most of her family during the Second World War, shared her traumatic experiences with pupils as part of the school’s campaign.
Redden Court School, Cotsworld Road, Harold Wood, was visited last Wednesday by 86-year-old Janine Webber who led a talk on how she survived under the brutal Nazi regime to GCSE history students.
Headteacher Paul Ward said: “Never has there been a more important time for our young people to learn about one of the darkest periods in history.
“Janine’s testimony reminded us all of what terrible things human beings are capable of doing.
“However, Janine’s determination to survive, build a life for herself and become a champion of human rights shows a strength of character and humanity that is inspiring.
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“I would like to thank the Holocaust Educational Trust for the vitally important work they do.”
Living in Poland in the early 1940s. Janine lived a life mostly in hiding, when both her dad and brother were shot dead and her mum died of typhus at age 29.
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Janine’s aunt Rouja gave her the address of a Polish man in case of emergencies who then hid her in an attic along with her aunt, uncle and 12 other Jews.
As the situation became more dangerous, the group was moved to an underground bunker, where they stayed for nearly a year.
After being sent to a convent in Krakow, Janine, with the help of those around her, went to live with an elderly couple where she worked as a maid until Krakow was liberated in early 1945.
She visited the school as part of its Rainbow Nation campaign which seeks to eradicate racism and prejudice in the classroom and beyond.
Year 10 history student Abbie Clogg, who was one of the many students that listen to her talk, said: “Janine’s talk gave us a vivid picture of life under fascism.
“I was moved that, despite losing close members of her family, Janine is not bitter but committed to raising awareness amongst young people of the dangers of racism.”
Janine, who was awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) in the New Year’s Honours List for services to Holocaust education, said: “I believe that it is very important that young people hear from those of us who survived the Holocaust.
“It is important that we never let any minority community be persecuted again.”