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Holocaust Survivor visits Northolt High

Holocaust Visit 1 (cropped)On Wednesday 29th November, all the Year 9 students were lucky enough to be visited by a Holocaust survivor, Mr. Ernst Simon. His story was breathtaking and amazing.

As a young Jewish child before and during the Second World War, his life was very hard. He lived in Austria - in an all Jewish community which was known as the ghetto. Places were segregated throughout the region. However, some Jews were treated more humanely. In some streets, there were chains to allow the Jews to have a peaceful sabbath and not allow any traffic to pass through.

Mr. Simons grew up with his mother, father and younger brother. He went to school like any normal child until his home city was endangered after the Night of Broken Glass. His parents then decided to send him to safety, in Britain, through the Kindertransport. So at midnight on January 11, 1939, he waved goodbye to his parents at Vienna West station and embarked on a two-day journey through Nuremberg to the Hook of Holland and then to  Liverpool Street station, where he and thousands of other Jewish children were welcomed. Mr. Simon informed us that he and the other children had to wear a big label around his neck, with a number - this number identified who he was on the kindertransport.

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We were informed that when Mr Simon arrived at Liverpool Station, he was allocated a foster family. He lived with them for a while, before being evacuated to the countryside, later on in the war. After picking up English quickly and slowly forgetting German, he was visited by his parents and brother, who then went on to live with him in Britain. We understood that Mr. Simons is one of the lucky survivors and many others faced a much bleaker time.

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Mr. Ernst Simon grew up to become an engineer and has a son of his own. He now shares the story of his early struggles with many students throughout the country. Luckily, we had the opportunity to hear about his extraordinary life. We would like to thank Mr. Ernst Simon for sharing his experiences with us. Overall, all of the Year 9 students are grateful for this opportunity and have all learnt so much from it.

By Zainab Jassim and Toyann Gibson (History Captains)