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Horrors of Holocaust must be told

By Zigi Shipper

I was 10 years old when my whole life changed. I was living with my grandparents when the Nazis forced all of us into the Lodz ghetto in Poland.

My grandfather died of starvation soon after - he was very religious and refused to eat the non-Kosher food. My grandmother and I were alone.

Two years after we arrived in the ghetto there was a round-up and I was put on a lorry to be deported.

Looking around, I saw that I was surrounded by children, elderly and disabled people. By some miracle the guards in the yard weren't looking and I managed to jump off.

I stayed working in the ghetto's metal factory until, one day, we were all put on cattle trucks and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

From Auschwitz-Birkenau I was sent to Stutthof concentration camp and then on a forced march to Neustadt in Germany. I was liberated by British troops in 1945.

At the age of 10 my life was taken from me. My father had run away in 1939 to escape the Nazis - I never learnt what happened to him.

My grandfather died of starvation. My grandmother died in Theresienstadt concentration camp the day it was liberated. From the day we entered the ghetto she never knew one single day as a free woman.

But, in spite of all this, by some miracle I survived. I came to the UK in 1947 and was reunited with my mother, who spent the war here.

Soon after I was reunited with a group of other child survivors I knew from the camps. We call ourselves "the Boys" to this day, and they are like my family.

I had my own family - a beautiful wife, two children, six grandchildren and even a great-grandchild.

Hitler did not win. But if I spend the rest of my life hating I will not win either.

I survived and I will keep telling my story as long as I can to make sure that young people always know what happened to us. We must never give up. And we must never stop teaching young people about the dangers of hatred.

Zigi Shipper speaks in schools through the Holocaust Educational Trust's outreach programme. To find out more, visit www.het.org.uk

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