The Echoes

Participating Schools are paired with an artist in residence to inspire commemorative responses to survivor testimony. The testimonies are the inspiration for the Schools' responses which are delivered through artistic expressions, conceived and delivered by the pupils.

How Strong We Are

Barr’s Hill

July 2019

Harry Olmer BEM was born Chaim Olmer in 1927 in Sosnowiec, Poland, the fourth of six children. In 1940 his father, brother and Harry were forced into hard labour repairing roads and subsequently sent to Plaszow labour camp, then on to the notorious labour camp Skarzysko- Kamienna where Harry worked with chemicals under terrible conditions. He was later moved to a sub-camp of Burchenwald again working in dangerous conditions. With the advance of the Red Army, he was moved to Terezin ghetto, which was liberated in 1945. After a period of recuperation, Harry came to the UK to Windermere with a group of child survivors known as ‘The Boys’. He qualified and had a long successful career as a dentist, retiring in his 80’s after which he began to speak of his experiences.

City of Birmingham School

Zigi Shipper BEM is a camp survivor. He was born Zygmunt Shipper in Lodz, Poland, 1930. Following the Nazi occupation of Poland, Zigi was moved into the Lodz ghetto with his grandmother. When the ghetto was liquidated in 1944, Zigi was deported to Auschwitz and then was sent to several labour camps. Having survived the war, he came to the UK in 1947. Zigi arrived in the UK with no luggage and in the time since he has rebuilt his family, and has several children, grandchildren and now a greatgrandchild.

He is one of Britain’s most prominent Holocaust survivors and regularly travels all over the UK and gives his testimony at schools. Notably, Zigi has given talks to the England football team and returned to Stutthof Concentration Camp last year with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

James Brindley

Harry Spiro BEM is a camp survivor. He was moved to the Piotrkow ghetto — the first created in Poland by the Nazis. Harry’s mother saved him by lying about his age to get a job in a glass factory. He was sent to several ghettos and concentration camps including Buchenwald and Theresienstadt, where he was finally liberated. He lost all his family.

Nishkam High School

Zdenka Fantlolva is a camp survivor. She witnessed the Nazi invasion of Czechslovakia from her bedroom window. Zdenka was in several concentration camps and labour camps, including Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. She was liberated from Bergen-Belsen by the British forces. Zdenka was given a tin ring by her first love Arno while they were both in a concentration camp. Arno did not survive, but Zdenka still has the ring.

Nelson Mandela School

Kurt Taussig came to the UK on the Kindertransport. The Germans placed him and his family in Hocalko Holiday Camp, which had become a refugee camp. They were then moved to a prison near Beroun. He escaped on the Kindertransport thanks to his older brother, Erich, who had managed to secure places for both Kurt and his younger brother Karl.

Aged 18 he joined the RAF. He had wanted to fly ever since being a young child. He was the only Czech  national in the British Royal Air Force as an officer. He volunteered himself for immediate service abroad when joining. He ended up part of a special squadron, aged 22, and flew spitfires. The spitfire he flew is now the only one left in Europe. 

Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School

Hedi Frankl initially used a fake passport to evade the Nazis but was captured by “Jew hunters” and taken to work in factory Strasshoff. A foreman at the factory saved her.

King Edward VI

Dov Reichmann survived the Holocaust in hiding. He experienced anti-Semitism at school and survived the Holocaust hiding in various places in Budapest such as the Budapest ghetto.

Selly Oak Trust School

Susie Lind survived the Holocaust by escaping on the Kindertransport. She was placed on one of the last Kindertransport trains by her mother when she was aged 14. She never saw her mother again. After the war, she found out her family home had been taken over by the Nazis as their HQ.

Rockwood Academy

Mary Gerrad is a camp survivor. Mady lost both her parents when she was very young. Her mother died before the war in 1937 and her father was sent to a work camp in 1940. She was sent to two different ghettos before being sent to Auschwitz. She was then put to forced labour in a factory before being marched for 12 days to Bergen-Belsen, where, finally, she was liberated.

Nansen Primary School

Marcel Anisfeld escaped into Soviet-occupied Poland. He was then deported by the Russians to Siberia. He and his family experienced hard labour. After the war, he and his sister had to pretend to be orphaned children in order to be brought to England by Rabbi Dr Solomon Schonfeld.

King David Primary

Lilit Pohlmann survived the Holocaust in hiding. At first a German woman— a civil servant — hid Lilit in her home. The woman was taking an incredible risk as her boyfriend was an SS officer. Subsequently, Lilit was taken into hiding by a Ukrainian Archbishop. Lilit and her mother survived, but her father and younger brother were killed.

City Academy Birmingham

Agnes Kaposi is a work camp survivor. Born in Debrecen, Hungary, her transport to Auschwitz was diverted due to an administrative error and she ended up in Strasshoff forced labour camp. After the war she escaped communist Hungary and became a successful electrical engineer here in the UK.

Stoke Park

Robert Kirk OBE was born in Hanover in Germany in 1925. After the Kristallnact pogrom in 1938 and escalating anti-semitism, aged 14 Robert in May 1939 Robert was sent by his parents on the Kindertransport to England. He stayed in school until he was 16 and initially did war work in a factory and joined the Home Guard. In 1944 he joined the army and eventually became an interpreter dealing with German prisoners of war. Up to the outbreak of war Robert received letters, followed by 25-word messages via the Red Cross from his parents in Germany. These eventually stopped and after the war Robert found out that his parents had been on the first transport out of Hanover on 15th December 1941 to a concentration camp Riga, Lativa. They never returned. Robert and his wife Anne both were awarded OBE’s in 2019 for their work in support of Holocaust Education.

Finham Park

Ruth David was born Ruth Luise Oppenheimer in Frankurt and grew up in Frankisch-Crumbach in Germany. As a result of the escalating Anti-Jewish persecution in Germany, Ruth’s parents sent Ruth aged ten and her five siblings to England on the Kindertransport in 1939. Up until 1942 Ruth received letters from her parents, but they subsequently died in Auschwitz. Ruth had a long career as a teacher in England. In Germany she has been honoured with The Cross of the Order of Merit for her Holocaust Education work.

Barr’s Hill

Harry Olmer BEM was born Chaim Olmer in 1927 in Sosnowiec, Poland, the fourth of six children. In 1940 his father, brother and Harry were forced into hard labour repairing roads and subsequently sent to Plaszow labour camp, then on to the notorious labour camp Skarzysko- Kamienna where Harry worked with chemicals under terrible conditions. He was later moved to a sub-camp of Burchenwald again working in dangerous conditions. With the advance of the Red Army, he was moved to Terezin ghetto, which was liberated in 1945. After a period of recuperation, Harry came to the UK to Windermere with a group of child survivors known as ‘The Boys’. He qualified and had a long successful career as a dentist, retiring in his 80’s after which he began to speak of his experiences.

Riverbank Academy

Gabor Lacko was born in Hungary in 1931. In 1944, within 72 hours of the German occupation of the town, Gabor and his family had to move into the Debrecen Ghetto and work in the brick factory. His family was later taken to Strasshof in Austria, Sitzenberg-Reidling and then to Vienna, where Gabor worked in an anti-aircraft gun factory. Liberated by the Russians, on returning home the family were eventually re-united with their father. Gabor became an engineer and moved to England in 1956.

Parkgate Primary

Judith Kerr OBE was born on 14 June 1923 in Berlin but escaped from Hitler’s Germany with her parents and brother in 1933 when she was nine years old. Her father was a drama critic and a distinguished writer whose books were burned by the Nazis. The family passed through Switzerland and France before arriving finally in England in 1936. She worked as an artist, a BBC television scriptwriter and author and illustrator of children’s books right up until her death in 2019.

Arena Academy

Hedi Frankl initially used a fake passport to evade the Nazis but was captured by “Jew hunters” and taken to work in factory Strasshoff. A foreman at the factory saved her.

Jewellery Quarter Academy

Zigi Shipper BEM is a camp survivor. He was born Zygmunt Shipper in Lodz, Poland, 1930. Following the Nazi occupation of Poland, Zigi was moved into the Lodz ghetto with his grandmother. When the ghetto was liquidated in 1944, Zigi was deported to Auschwitz and then was sent to several labour camps. Having survived the war, he came to the UK in 1947. Zigi arrived in the UK with no luggage and in the time since he has rebuilt his family, and has several children, grandchildren and now a greatgrandchild.

He is one of Britain’s most prominent Holocaust survivors and regularly travels all over the UK and gives his testimony at schools. Notably, Zigi has given talks to the England football team and returned to Stutthof Concentration Camp last year with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Central Academy

Maurice Blik is a camp survivor. He was in concentration camps between the ages of 4 and 6, firstly Westerbork and then Bergen-Belsen. After the war was over, he came to the UK with his mother and sister. He is a renowned sculptor by profession.

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