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Holocaust survivor Ruth Barnett shares first hand account of modern history with Poppleton Road Primary School pupils
CHILDREN at Poppleton Road Primary School in York heard a first hand account of modern history when a Holocaust survivor visited them.
Ruth Barnett, born Ruth Michaelis in Berlin in 1935, went to the school and spoke to Year 6 children.
Mrs Barnett told the classes about her father, who was Jewish, and her mother, who was not. At the age of four she arrived in Britain on the Kindertransport with her seven-year-old brother, and lived for the next ten years in a hostel and with foster families.
She spoke to the children about her early life in Germany as the Nazis rose to power, and her experiences as a child escaping to England.
Teacher Samantha Dykes said: “The children have been learning about the Holocaust and prejudice against other people. They responded really well and asked some very good questions.”
The children said hearing a first-hand account like Mrs Barnett’s helped them understand the events of the past.
Among the pupils was ten-year-old Grace Lozhkin, who said she found Mrs Barnett’s talk very interesting.
Grace said: “We will be the last generation who can speak to World War Two survivors. Our children won’t be able to hear from survivors because they won’t still be alive.”
Her classmate Milo Gilderdale-McMullen said he found Mrs Barnett’s story of survival fascinating, while Esther Clarke said she was shocked to hear that the young Ruth forgot her own mother after being separated from her at only four years old.
Mrs Barnett’s visit was organised by the Holocaust Education Trust.
She said: “I think talking to children like this is important because we still haven’t learned the lessons of the Holocaust, to treat everybody well.
“The children have responded very well, they are lovely kids.”
After Ruth and her brother left Germany in 1939 her father escaped to Shanghai and her mother remained in Germany, later going into hiding after taking part in the Rosenstrasse protest with 6,000 other non-Jewish women who were married to Jewish men.
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