A Harpenden pupil has spoken of her experiences after visiting the museum of the former German Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz, in present day Poland, to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Lydia Hollingsworth, a St George’s School pupil, delivered a presentation to fellow students in remembrance of victims and in honour of Holocaust Memorial Day, which took place on January 27.
The presentation centred around Holocaust survivor and Harpenden resident Kitty Hart-Moxon, who is a leading member of the Holocaust Education Trust.
Since surviving the notorious Nazi camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, Ms Hart-Moxon has dedicated her life to telling her story.
She was sent to the camp with her family at the age of 15 in 1943, where she was forced to work sorting through the clothing and personal belongings of people sent to the gas chambers.
At 14, Lydia is roughly the same age as Ms Hart-Moxon was when she entered Auschwitz. Lucky enough to visit Auschwitz with Ms Hart-Moxon, last year, Lydia showed an interview that had been filmed on location where she had asked how a young person of 14/15-years-old managed to cope with the experience of Auschwitz.
Lydia spoke about Ms Hart-Moxon’s experiences from a 14-year-olds perspective and challenged pupils to consider how they would feel if their lives and that of their families were interrupted by occupation, persecution and finally mass murder.
As well as this she conveyed the challenges that Ms Hart-Moxon faced as a young person dealing with the horror of those times.
During her presentation, Lydia said: "I had the honour of visiting Auschwitz recently with a survivor, Mrs Kitty Hart-Moxon, who has been into our school to tell us of her experiences. It was my privilege to go around Auschwitz with her and learn first-hand about her suffering in the very place that it happened.
"But not only that, I learned about her life and visited her home town and I learnt that she was a young girl like me, growing up in a nice home town with loving parents, from a hard working successful family.
"She lived a life, like we all do here in Harpenden, in comfort, enjoying past times and hobbies, going to school and getting a good education.
"People like us, our family members, people sitting here today. Kitty saw it all and whilst so many went through the horror of their lives ending, Kitty had to get on with living hers.
"So how did someone of our age manage to survive such a terrible place? How did she manage to keep going in the face of adversity. Kitty was not a woman with the experience of life behind her. She was a girl. So how did she survive?"