We were privileged to be visited by Ernest Simon, a survivor of the Holocaust. He was sent by his parents, at the age of just 8 years old, on the 'Kindertransport' to Britain, fleeing Nazi persecution in Austria. He spoke at length to students in Years 9,10 and 11 and members of the Sixth Form about his experiences, for example witnessing the horror of Kristallnacht from his bedroom window when he saw the burning of the Torah and other important items fromt the local Synagogue.
Mr Simon explained that when he arrived in Leeds and attended school he spoke no English, but a short time later, having been evacuated to Lincoln, he had become so unaccustomed to speaking German that he was unable to speak to his mother. Mr Simon was fortunate in that he was joined in Britain by his parents and his younger brother a little while after his arrival, this was in fact very unusual and the majority of the 10,000 children who came to Britain on the 'Kindertransport' never saw their parents again. He remained in the care of foster parents until his parents were able to establish a place for the family to live and following the release of his father, who had been interred on the Isle of Mann as an 'enemy alien'.
Once he had finished his talk, the students were invited to ask questions and this was met with considerable enthusism with students asking a broad range of questions. We were very lucky to be able to hear from and speak to a survivor of Nazi persecution; this was an experience which really brought to life what the studen ts have been studying relating to World War 11 and moral issues across History, Religious Studies and English.