Year 11 learners from heard testimony from Holocaust survivor, Mala Tribich MBE, as part of a visit organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust.
The testimony was followed by a question and answer session enabling learners to gain a better understanding of the nature of the Holocaust and to explore its lessons in more depth. Mr. Chris Noon, R.E. Curriculum Leader at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan said:
“It was a privilege for us to welcome Mala Tribich to our school and her 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 Mala’s testimony, it will encourage our learners to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and make a positive difference in their own lives.”
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust added:
“Mala’s story is one of tremendous courage during horrific circumstances and by hearing her testimony, learners can see where prejudice and racism can ultimately lead.
Mala was born Mala Helfgott in 1930 in Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland. When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, the family decided that it would be safer for Mala to be taken to the town of Czestochowa to try and pass as a Christian child.
Mala was eventually taken back to the ghetto at Piotrkow. Shortly after her return, there were further round ups during which her mother and eight year old sister were taken. All these people were murdered in the local forest. When the ghetto was liquidated, Mala became a slave labourer until November 1944, when the remaining Jews were deported, Mala was sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp.
After about 10 weeks they were transported in cattle trucks to Bergen-Belsen where conditions were appalling and Mala contracted typhus. At the time of the liberation by the British army, Mala was very ill. She was transferred to a hospital/children’s home and it was many weeks before she recovered. Three months later she was sent, with a large group of children, to Sweden where she spent nearly two years. Mala was surprised to receive a letter from her brother Ben in England, the only other member of her close family to have survived.
In March 1947, Mala came to England to be reunited with Ben. In 1949, she met Maurice, whom she married in 1950. Whilst her children were growing up, Mala studied and gained a degree in Sociology from the University of London. Today Mala has two children and three grandchildren.