Holocaust survivor brings horrors of history to life for pupils

Holocaust survivor Uri Winterstein at Whitburn Academy.
Holocaust survivor Uri Winterstein at Whitburn Academy.
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Students learning about the atrocities of the Second World War were visited by a holocaust survivor.

Uri Winterstein gave a talk to A-level history pupils at Whitburn Academy, in Shanks Road, yesterday.

Holocaust survivor Uri Winterstein at Whitburn Academy.

Holocaust survivor Uri Winterstein at Whitburn Academy.

The 71-year-old grandfather was just a baby in the last two years of the war, but he survived the horrors along with his parents Dr Vojtech and Margrit and sister, Ruth.

Mr Winterstein was a ‘hidden child’, taken from his parents and given to a non-Jewish family when they realised they may need to go into hiding and might not be able to keep him quiet.

He was reunited with his family at 20 months, but meanwhile, millions of his people had been sent to their deaths at concentration camps by Hitler and the Nazi Army.

The talk was organised by history pupils Olivia Gibson and Holly Carmichael, who were chosen to represent the school on a trip to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

I think the students founds it a really powerful experience. They’ll have heard little bits about the holocaust during their history lessons up to GCSE but this put things into real context for them.

Lee Craggs, head of sixth form

Head of sixth form, Lee Craggs, said: “The trip to Auschwitz was a national event run by the Holocaust Education Trust, and we asked the pupils who wanted to go to write a letter of interest.

“We received four really good letters and pulled names out of a hat to decide.

“The girls didn’t say a lot when they came back. It’s a very strange experience and some students don’t like to talk about it when they get back.

“It’s a difficult place to visit.”

Holocaust survivor Uri Winterstein at Whitburn Academy.

Holocaust survivor Uri Winterstein at Whitburn Academy.

As part of the trip, Olivia and Holly had to arrange an event in the community to share what they learned at Auschwitz.

Mr Craggs added: “They decided they wanted to do something with their peers and invited Uri in to give a talk.

“I think the students found it a really powerful experience.

“They’ll have heard little bits about the holocaust during their history lessons up to GCSE but this put things into real context for them.”

Holocaust survivor Uri Winterstein at Whitburn Academy.

Holocaust survivor Uri Winterstein at Whitburn Academy.

Holocaust survivor Uri Winterstein at Whitburn Academy. From left pupils Olivia Gibson and Holly Carmichael who organised the talk

Holocaust survivor Uri Winterstein at Whitburn Academy. From left pupils Olivia Gibson and Holly Carmichael who organised the talk