Survivor leads March of the Living in Poland

By Marcus Dysch, April 15, 2010
Freddie Knoller then and now

Freddie Knoller then and now

Auschwitz survivor Freddie Knoller led a British delegation at the annual March of the Living in Poland this week.

Vienna-born Mr Knoller joined other survivors and thousands of students from around the world on the three-kilometre route from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Monday.

He was invited by the Austrian government to participate in the march, coinciding with Yom Hashoah, the remembrance day for Holocaust victims.

"We organised a British delegation of about 12 people but we are hoping next year it will be a much bigger group," he said. "The Austrians wanted me to lead a group of 500 Christian students on the march."

During six days in Krakow, Mr Knoller also delivered lectures to Austrian students and spoke with locally-based international diplomats and officials.

"It's important that the people who came on it learnt a lot about what happened in the Shoah. During the march they called out the names of children killed by the Nazis. It was a very moving experience."

Mr Knoller, who turns 89 tomorrow, was deported to Auschwitz in October 1943 after hiding from the Nazis in occupied France. He was later transferred to Bergen-Belsen.

He emigrated to the United States after the war but moved to Britain with his English wife in the 1950s and now lives in Totteridge. He is president of the Jewish Care-administered Holocaust Survivors' Centre.

Pupils from Manchester's King David High were also among the marchers, the school having chartered a plane for 150 people to join the commemoration. The group also included KD parents and representatives from Manchester Catholic schools and others with a high ratio of Muslim pupils. The party additionally visited sites of Jewish interest in Krakow.

Last updated: 4:25pm, April 15 2010