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Holocaust Survivor Nelly Ben-Or Visits College

Dated: 27 January 2012

Tue 24th January 2012 - Over 60 students gathered to listen to holocaust survivor and concert pianist Nelly Ben-Or who came to Woodhouse to share her amazing story with our students. Originally from a happy, Jewish family in eastern Poland, she talked about the horrors her family endured under the Nazi regime. At the age of six, after the outbreak of world war two, her family were put into a Polish ghetto surrounded by a wall of broken glass and barbed wire where they lived for a year and a half under the constant fear of being taken to extermination camps. She talked about Jews being “systematically dispossessed of the rights to be human beings” and the psychological effects of being told at a young age that there was something wrong with you. At the age of eight her older sister had an incredible experience where she managed to escape from a train, which was taking her to a mass grave. From outside the ghetto she managed to get in contact with a family friend who arranged false identities for them and helped them to escape. Nelly shared other stories of her amazing luck in catching a sleeper train to Warsaw that was reserved for high ranking Nazi officers and how under their new identities her mother managed to find work as household help for a polish family. She had fond memories of learning to play the piano and having lessons with the daughter of the family. She moved on to talk about the horrors of the 1944 uprising in Warsaw and how her mother’s boss saved her and her mother from being sent to Auschwitz by giving her her child. Her story was incredibly moving and powerful and many students stayed on after she had finished to talk more to her about her experiences.

Daniela Schamroth Rossade (L6 student and Woodhouse Challenge Publicity Officer)

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