Holocaust survivor Harry visits BVC
Holocaust survivor Harry Spiro BEM visited Bassingbourn Village College as part of our termly Curriculum Day.
Harry was accompanied by his daughter Tracey Moses during the visit which was organised by RE teacher Mrs Jess Miller and the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET).
Tracey’s talk was followed by a question and answer session with Harry himself to enable students to better understand the nature of the Holocaust and to explore its lessons in more depth. The visit was part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s extensive all year round Outreach Programme, which is available to schools across the UK.
Vickey Poulter, Principal of BVC, said: “It was a privilege for us to welcome Mr Spiro and his daughter to our school and his testimony will remain a powerful reminder of the horrors so many experienced. We are grateful to the Holocaust Educational Trust for co-ordinating the visit and we hope that by hearing Harry’s testimony, it will encourage our students to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and make a positive difference in their own lives.”
Harry’s story: Harry was born in 1929 in Poland. When the Nazis occupied Poland, the area where Harry and his family lived became part of the Pietrokow ghetto, where all of the Jews from the area now had to live. Whilst here, Harry worked in the glass factory.
In 1942 there was an announcement that everyone in the ghetto had to stay in their homes except for those who were working in the glass factory. Whilst Harry was at work, the ghetto was liquidated and all 22,000 inhabitants, including Harry’s family were taken to Treblinka and killed. The factory workers were then moved into a smaller ghetto. Eventually this ghetto was liquidated and all of the inhabitants were sent to Czestochowa. Here, they worked making munitions for the German Army.
As the Russian Army was advancing, the prisoners were put onto trains and sent to Buchenwald in Germany. After a short time here, Harry was sent to Rhemsdorf. As the War was coming to a close, the prisoners from Rhemsdorf were put on trains to be transported to another camp. However, the train line was bombed so all of the prisoners were forced to march the rest of the way to Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia. Harry was one of only 270 survivors of this march and was later liberated by Russian soldiers.
Harry was permitted to enter the UK in 1945 as part of an initiative to allow 1,000 child survivors of the Holocaust into the country. Today, Harry lives just outside of London and, with the aid of his daughter Tracey, talks to students about his experiences during the Holocaust.