Our AS Religious Studies students travelled to the Belfast Synagogue today as part of a number of events organised by the Executive Office to remember the Holocaust and other genocides. The RS pupils were accompanied by Mr Brown and staff and pupils from Banbridge High School, St. Patrick’s College and New Bridge Integrated.
Pupils were very privileged to hear the testimony of Holocaust survivor, Susan Pollack. Born Zsuzsanna Blau in 1930 in Felsögöd, Susan’s family were ordered out of their home and sent to the ghetto. From there they were moved by cattle truck to Auschwitz-Birkenau where she learned her mother had been sent directly to the gas chambers. Susan was selected to work and remained at the camp for 10 weeks. She was sent to Germany to work as a slave labourer in the armaments factory.
After being liberated in 1945, Susan was hospitalised with tuberculosis, typhoid and malnutrition. She was sent to Sweden to recover before moving to Canada.
Susan now lives in London and regularly shares testimony in schools across the UK.
Pupils also met Tomáš Reichental who was born in Czechoslovakia in 1935 and lived with his family on their farm until he was eight years old. They went into hiding when laws began to prohibit the movement and rights of Jewish people. He was captured, along with his brother, mother and grandmother, and taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1944, where he remained until it was liberated in 1945.