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COURAGEOUS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR TO SPEAK IN HUDDERSFIELD

One of Yorkshire’s courageous Holocaust survivors will be giving a talk about his life in Huddersfield next month (March).

90-year-old Arek Hersh will be speaking at the Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre at the University of Huddersfield at 2.00pm on Sunday March 3.

Arek will talk about his experiences, take questions, and sign copies of his autobiography, A Detail of History.

Lilian Black, chair of the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association, commented: “We are privileged to host Arek at the Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre. Arek’s story features in our exhibition and he has been an active speaker for HSFA over many years.

“Arek’s story is a story for today, providing powerful and timely testimony about the effects of prejudice, intolerance and discrimination. It is especially relevant now, since the ugly and dangerous face of antisemitism appears to be back on the political agenda.

“I urge everyone with an interest in modern history to come and listen to Arek speak. He brings the Holocaust, in all its horror and its tragedy, to dramatic and vivid life. His courageous testimony ensures that we never, ever forget what happened in those death and concentration camps during the Second World War.”

Arek was born in Poland in 1930. Arek survived forced labour and the Lodz Ghetto before being deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944. After forced labour in the concentration camp at Auschwitz, he was sent by train to Buchenwald as part of the Nazi evacuation before the Soviet liberation of Auschwitz. From Buchenwald, Arek underwent a terrible month-long journey in an open train wagon to Theresienstadt, from where he was liberated in May 1945.

When he was liberated from Theresienstadt, aged just 15, Arek was an orphan. His parents, siblings and over 70 members of his family had been murdered, most at the Chelmno death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Arek came to the UK in August 1945 with a group of 300 children brought to Windermere in the Lake District. They stayed in former factory accommodation and had some English lessons and some time to recover. Arek moved to Liverpool where he and some of the boys he had arrived with were able to learn a trade.

He then settled in the UK and made Yorkshire his home with his wife Jean. Arek later discovered that only 40 people from his hometown survived the war.

Arek didn’t speak about his experiences until 1995 when he wrote his book, A Detail of History. Today Arek goes to schools, universities and other organisations to talk about his experience of the Holocaust. He hopes that by doing this he can help young people to build a better world.

The Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre will be open from 12 – 4pm on March 3 to enable guests to see the exhibition. Refreshments will be available after Arek’s talk for a small donation.

For further information, please contact helc@hud.ac.uk or call 01484 365301. Tickets are available via Holocaustlearning.org.uk