Oldham Sixth Form College has proudly welcomed Lilian Black, Chair of the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association and daughter of Holocaust survivor Eugene Black.
Students were joined by pupils from Saddleworth School and Waterhead Academy to hear the story how Eugene was deported from his home in Hungary in 1944 and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
He 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.
Eugene lived in Werneth, Oldham with his wife Annie and worked 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 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.
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.
She said it is important everyone continues to tackle stereotypes, racism and discrimination and it is vital to understand how events like the Holocaust came about to prevent horrific events like this from ever happening again.
Delighted at being asked to talk to the students, Lilan added: “It feels like I am coming home visiting Oldham. This town showed my father so miuch support and gave him a new start in life.”
Peter Roberts, Acting Principal at OSFC, commented: “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 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.
They heard a range of speakers, including 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 of six candles to represent the six million people who died in the Holocaust.