At 10am on Friday 27th January, Mala Tribich MBE will be sharing her testimony through a live webcast. In this blog, she explains why she wants you to tune in.
I was liberated from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on 15th April 1945. For many years, I never really spoke about what had happened to me and my family, until in 1981 I started speaking. It was always to small audiences –it could be a club, a Church, a youth group or a Synagogue, and the occasional school that took the initiative to follow up the Second World War history course with a talk by a survivor of the Holocaust. This made a rather remote history, which happened long before these students were born, come to life.
In those days my audience would consist of one classroom of students, then perhaps the whole of year nine and so numbers continued to grow until I was speaking to audiences of 200, 300 and 400. However, I never imagined that, through the auspices of the Holocaust Educational Trust and the modern digital world, I would one day be reaching thousands. On Holocaust Memorial Day, the 27th of January 2017, I will be speaking at a London school, but people everywhere, in every corner of the country, can be part of the experience through a special webcast. My story starts in Poland where I lived with my mother, father, older brother Ben and younger sister Lusia. I wasn’t yet 9 when my world turned upside down. Our town, Piotrków, was the first in Poland to have a ghetto and all Jews were removed from their homes, deprived of their freedom, their possessions, all human rights and forced to live in very overcrowded conditions. What happened over the next 6 years is still, even today, impossible for me to understand. I was hidden, then incarcerated in concentration camps in conditions that defy belief. By the time I was liberated in 1945, my brother Ben and I were the sole survivors of our immediate family.
This year the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘how can life go on?’ Although speaking about this tragic and painful period in my life is emotionally draining I do it not only in memory of my family, but for all those whose voices have been silenced.
By speaking out, it is my greatest hope that something positive will be handed to future generations.
I hope you will be watching. To register your place, please sign up here.