North and south join forces for mass educational programme
Bronia Snow meets pupils from Tolworth Girls’ School in Kingston
United and Liberal communities north and south of the river have once again combined to organise major HMD educational activities for almost 3,000 secondary school students.
Two-thirds of that number were at the Northwood United/Northwood and Pinner Liberal event, now in its 10th year.
Pupils from 33 schools in Harrow, Hertfordshire and Hillingdon took part in 18 sessions at the shuls. There were also satellite sessions at the Bushey and Borehamwood United synagogues.
Monday's opening ceremony featured an address by Helen Hyde, headteacher of Watford Girls' Grammar School, who is the child of survivors.
As in Northwood, the south London programme in Kingston joins the local United and Liberal shuls. Having launched five years ago as a one-day event, its workshops now stretch over four days to meet demand. More than 40 volunteers from the two shuls have been working together on the project, which has received a neighbourhood grant from the Royal Borough of Kingston and donations from members of both congregations.
A feature of the half-day sessions in both programmes is the contribution of survivors, discussing their experiences of Nazi persecution and how today's young generation can combat prejudice.
In Kingston, for example, early arrivals included year eight students from Tolworth Girls' School in Kingston, who are studying the Holocaust and the Kindertransport as part of a humanities course. After hearing from Bronia Snow, 13-year-old Abbie O'Donnell remarked: "It was moving to hear Bronia talking about how she survived. People who had done nothing wrong suffered because of one man."
Lottie Premm-Jones, 12, was impressed by "how strong she was to cope with the loss of her parents and brother. I don't know if I could be that strong."
At Northwood, year 10 girls from St Margaret's School, Bushey, said hearing Mala Tribich's story in person evoked emotions "you could never get when just reading about the Holocaust in books". One girl told her: "Listening to you has made me wonder how people can be so cruel. Thank you for sharing your experience, and I will share it with others."