Lilian Black, daughter of Holocaust survivor Eugene Black, (who sadly passed away last September), delivered an assembly to staff and pupils at Gateways School, Harewood, last Friday in honour of Holocaust Memorial Day 2017.
Lilian invited pupils to light six candles to commemorate the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust, as well as emphasising the importance of the five millions others who were persecuted. A short film was played, telling the story of survivor Arek Hersch, who experienced life in various camps from the age of 11 – 16 including the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. Arek now lives in Harewood and has received an MBE for his work to raise awareness of the Holocaust which he vows to continue until the day he dies.
Lilian had a strong message for pupils during the assembly. She stated; “the Holocaust began with words. These words espoused lies which became true in people’s minds.” She encouraged the audience to remember that “ultimately it is an individual choice how we behave.”
Sixth Form pupil Chloe Rathbone commented; “Lilian’s assembly was incredibly moving. A number of the Sixth Formers have visited Auschwitz, including myself, and listening to Arek’s story brought back memories of how it felt when we were there. It’s scary that although the Holocaust is still a living memory, it is something that we haven’t learnt from. That’s why I believe Lilian and Arek’s work to spread awareness is immeasurably important.”