On the 19th January Hampton school hosted a range of pupils from across the borough, as it hosted the annual Holocaust Memorial Day. The pupils initially worked on a series of workshops to learn about the atrocities of genocides, before these were then presented to the current Mayor of Richmond, Lisa Blakemore. The event sought to commemorate the 6 million men, women and children who died during the Holocaust, as well as those killed in other genocides such as Rwanda and Darfur.

The school was the immensely privileged to host the survivor, Bea Green, who had been just 8 years old when Hitler had come to power in January 1933. She spoke about her experiences and about the brutality of the regime by revealing poignantly

“My best friend was murdered by the Nazi regime along with thousands of others. It is a miracle to me that I managed to escape and that I have had a wonderful family, when so many were robbed of their future”.

She also described how her father was force to carry around a sign around their hometown of Munich meaning that he was a Jew and that he shouldn’t disrespect the police. Mrs Green also stressed how “not everybody was a Nazi” and provided a fascinating insight to how her head teacher of her local school would often claim that the radio which used to broadcast the propaganda would conveniently break and thus prevent the school from listening to it. Mrs Green also remarked on her escape on the Kindertransport, which rescued some 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland during the 1930s.

Overall the day was an incredible inspiring one and showed how the personal testimony of somebody who actually lived through and experienced the events is an infinitely more engaging and useful way of looking at history.

James Dowden