Following Holocaust Memorial Day, pupils in Form 2 to Form 7 attended a live online talk from Zigi Shipper BEM and his daughter Michelle Richman from the Holocaust Educational Trust.
Michelle described Zigi’s life story as a Holocaust survivor, from his early life before being taken to the Łódź Ghetto and several camps including Auschwitz-Birkenau, before he was liberated after surviving a death march.
Michelle then explained how Zigi came to England, started a family and for the past 25 years has devoted his time to visiting schools, telling young people his story and that what happened to him was a result of hatred. During this period, he has had the honour of meeting numerous prime ministers and has been invited many times to the Queen’s garden parties. Zigi has also had the privilege and honour of escorting their royal highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge around Stutthof Concentration Camp a few years ago.
Michelle said, “In spite of everything that Zigi has endured during his life and especially during his early years, he is the most positive of people. In fact, he always says that he has had a wonderful life and can never thank the British people enough for all they have given him and most of all Zigi would want you to know what hatred can cause.”
Zoë in Form 5 said, “It was inspiring to see someone who has been through so much to have such a good outlook on life. I found the story fascinating yet awful, and it made me reflect on how you should act in every circumstance and how you can take something good from every situation. Seeing the emotion on his face and his key message of not hating people was inspirational as he was recounting such trauma but using it to spread good.”
A parent, Mr Bagshaw, said, “I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you so much for organising the fascinating talk by Zigi Shipper. I wandered into our kitchen earlier to find my son listening to it and I quickly forgot what I was doing and became transfixed. It is so important the younger generations learn from the past and nothing could be more powerful than Zigi’s story and his outlook.”
Teacher of Design and Technology Mrs Kelly Gibbons said, “It was a great honour to invite Zigi and Michelle to talk to our students so that they can understand the atrocities caused by hatred and genocide, encouraging future generations to prevent this from ever happening again. Zigi’s strong message to not hate anyone was particularly important. It was also wonderful to find out that we were able to provide this message to more than just our students as many of them were watching with their families too.”