Holocaust survivor Kitty Hart-Moxon, who speaks regularly in schools on the Trust’s Outreach Programme, blogs about the destruction the Nazis wrought on her community and the human capacity for friendship despite unimaginable hardship.
As a child I experienced the Holocaust at first hand. Communities fell apart during the seven years of Nazi rule. Neighbours turned against one another when German Armies invaded. The War years were a mixture of survival and betrayal. When I was on the run my life was saved by a Catholic Priest who provided me with non-Jewish identity documents- but then I was betrayed by a fellow worker. I was sentenced to death by firing squad but at the last moment my death sentence was commuted to life Imprisonment in Auschwitz where I was delivered to the gates of hell and spent almost 2 years.
In Auschwitz the SS deliberately set inmates against one another – yet it was almost impossible to survive on your own as there were times when you desperately needed help. It was the strong bonds and mutual support that always saved lives.
In Auschwitz I experienced the worst and also the best of human nature – in desperate times I had to rely on friends for help but on many occasions I took huge risks for my friends when they needed me. I would not have survived the Death March if my friends had not carried me when I sustained a head injury from a rifle butt.
I speak in schools because I believe there are many lessons that still have not been learned from the Holocaust – why was it not possible to prevent the Genocides in Rwanda, Darfur and the Balkans that occurred since the Holocaust?
Surely in order to prevent such catastrophic events all political, cultural and religious differences have to be set aside and communities need to stand and work together if we are to secure the future and prevent a repetition.