Holocaust survivor to tell pupils of death camp horror

A SURVIVOR from the Holocaust is visiting a Hull school tomorrow to talk about his experiences.

Rudi Oppenheimer will give a lecture at Hymers College before answering questions from pupils.

The visit is part of a series of events being held to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27, which commemorates the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Hymers headteacher David Elstone said: "I am delighted to welcome Rudi to our school and his testimony will remain a powerful reminder of the horrors so many experienced.

"We are grateful to the Holocaust Educational Trust for co-ordinating the visit and we hope that by hearing Rudi's testimony, it will encourage our students to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust to make a positive difference in their own lives and not forget the horrors people like Rudi endured."

Rudi was born in Berlin in 1931 where he lived with his parents and older brother Paul until he was four. The family lived in Britain for six months, where Rudi's sister Eve was born, before moving to Amsterdam.

German troops invaded Holland in May 1940 and life for Jews living there began deteriorated rapidly. In October 1942, they were effectively outlawed and were being rounded up and deported.

Rudi's father managed to avoid immediate deportation by getting a job with the Jewish Council, but in July 1943 the family were sent to the transit camp Westerbork.

They managed to avoid deportation to a concentration camp as Eve had been registered as a British subject, allowing the family to be classed as "exchange Jews", who could be exchanged for Germans interned by the Allies.

In January 1944, however, a high-ranking Nazi official ordered exchange Jews to be sent away from the camp and a month later the Oppenheimers were in Bergen-Belsen.

Severe under-nourishment caused Rudi's mother to fall ill and the family were forced to watch her die through lack of food and medicine.

His father became ill and died two months later.

On April 10, 1945, Rudi, Paul and Eve were on the last train ever to leave Bergen-Belsen and after travelling for 14 days woke to find the SS guards had gone.

They had survived.