Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Horrors of Holocaust must be told

By Zigi Shipper

Published 29/01/2016

Polish police said the teenagers were spotted acting suspiciously at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Polish police said the teenagers were spotted acting suspiciously at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
This 1944 photo provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) shows the first page of a photo album of approximately 116 rare photographs of senior SS officers and Nazi officials at the Auschwitz concentration camp unveiled Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007, by the museum. At left, the commandant of Auschwitz, Richard Baer, and right, Karl Hcker, the adjutant to the commandant. The inscription reading "Auschwitz 21.6.1944" signals its uniqueness as rare wartime photographs of the Auschwitz concentration camp complex. (AP Photo/USHMM) ** ONE TIME USE ONLY. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES **
This 1944 photo provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) shows an accordionist leading a sing-along for SS officers at their retreat at Solahutte outside Auschwitz, Poland. In the front row are Karl Hoecker, Otto Moll, Rudolf Hoess, Richard Baer, Josef Karmer, Franz Hoessler, and Josef Mengele. The photo is one of approximately 116 rare photographs of senior SS officers and Nazi officials at the Auschwitz concentration camp unveiled Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007, by the museum. (AP Photo/USHMM) ** ONE TIME USE ONLY. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES **
This 1944 photo provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shows SS officers, including several SS physicians, sit around a table drinking at Auschwitz, Poland. Among those pictured are Karl Hoecker,far left, Dr. Fritz Klein, left hand side, end of table, Dr. Horst Schumann and Dr. Eduard Wirths on the right side of the bench, third from the front. The photo is one of approximately 116 rare photographs of senior SS officers and Nazi officials at the Auschwitz concentration camp included in Hoecker's photo album, unveiled Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007, by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. (AP Photo/USHMM) ** ONE TIME USE ONLY. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES **
This 1944 photo provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) shows a group of SS officers gathered in front of a building at Solahutte, the SS retreat outside of Auschwitz, Poland. From left, Josef Kramer, Dr. Josef Mengele, Richard Baer, Karl Hoecker and unidentified. The photo is one of approximately 116 rare photographs of senior SS officers and Nazi officials at the Auschwitz concentration camp included in Hoecker's photo album, unveiled Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007, by the museum. (AP Photo/USHMM) ** ONE TIME USE ONLY. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES **
This 1944 photo provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shows members of the SS Helferinnen, female auxiliaries, siting on a fence railing in Solahutte, a little known SS resort some 30 km. south of Auschwitz on the Sola River in Poland, as Karl Hoecker passes out bowls of blueberries. The photo is one of approximately 116 rare photographs of senior SS officers and Nazi officials at the Auschwitz concentration camp included in Hoecker's photo album and unveiled Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007, by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. (AP Photo/USHMM) ** ONE TIME USE ONLY. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES **
This 1944 photo provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shows Nazi officers and female auxiliaries, Helferinnen, posing on a wooden bridge in Solahutte. a little known SS resort some 30 km. south of Auschwitz on the Sola River in Poland, At center, Karl Hoecker. The photo is one of approximately 116 rare photographs of senior SS officers and Nazi officials at the Auschwitz concentration camp included in Hoecker's photo album, unveiled Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007, by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. (AP Photo/USHMM) ** ONE TIME USE ONLY. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES **
This 1944 photo provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) shows SS officers socializing in their retreat at Solahutte outside of Auschwitz, Poland. From left Richard Baer, who became the commandant of Auschwitz in May 1944, Dr. Josef Mengele, Commandant of Birkenau Josef Kramer, hidden, and the former Commandant of Auschwitz Rudolf Hoess, foreground; the man at right is unidentified. The photo is one of approximately 116 rare photographs of senior SS officers and Nazi officials at the Auschwitz concentration camp unveiled Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007, by the museum. (AP Photo/USHMM) ** ONE TIME USE ONLY. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES **
A group of Polish Jews are led away for deportation by German SS soldiers in 1943
The infamous German inscription that reads ‘Work Sets You Free’ at the main entrance of Auschwitz

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

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph