.On Friday 7 February, OSFC proudly welcomed Lilian Black, Chair of the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association and daughter of Holocaust survivor, Eugene Black.
OSFC students were joined by pupils from Saddleworth School and Waterhead Academy to hear the story of her father, Eugene, who was deported from his home in Hungary in 1944 and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Eugene lost most of his family to the Holocaust but survived concentration camps and forced labour to make a new life in the UK in 1949.
Following his arrival in the UK, Eugene lived in Werneth, Oldham with his wife, Annie. He went on to work for Marks and Spencer in Manchester as a porter, a job arranged for him by a Doctor based in Liverpool.
He was overwhelmed by the support he received from the local community including being loaned £300 to buy his first home by a local corner shop owner. Lilian shared that her claim to fame was that the last hangman in the UK, Albert Pierrepoint, would push her as a baby in her pram around Werneth Park.
Following the talk, students had the opportunity to ask questions. Lilian went on to talk about the interactive Huddersfield Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre that she helped to set up as well as discussing the physical and emotional effects The Holocaust had on her father throughout his life.
Lilian believes that it is important that everyone continues to tackle stereotypes, racism and discrimination and that it is vital to understand how events like the Holocaust came about to prevent horrific events like this from ever happening again.
She was delighted to have been asked to come and talk to the students at OSFC today; “It feels like I am coming home visiting Oldham. This town showed my Father so much support and gave him a new start in life.”
Peter Roberts, Acting Principal at OSFC, was extremely grateful to Lilian for visiting; “It is important to us as a college that messages like these are delivered to the young people of Oldham. Second-generation survivors like Lilian play an important role in ensuring the stories from the Holocaust are not forgotten.”
Prior to this visit, fifteen OSFC History students had the privilege of attending a service at Manchester Hall on Monday 27 January, to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. Students were moved by the emotional service, which included a speech from Icek Alterman, one of the few remaining Holocaust survivors.
During the service, students heard from a range of speakers. These included the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Mr Mark Isaac Adlestone OBE DL, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham and Rabbi Daniel Walker from Heaton Park Hebrew Congregation. The service closed with a candle lighting; six candles to represent the six million people who died in the Holocaust.
Both the talk and the service, though undeniably harrowing. Help to ensure that we do not forget these significant events and do all we can to prevent their reoccurrence.
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