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  • During a visit to my sister’s house last year a friend of my brother in law came round for a chat.

    When I asked him where he was from I was shocked to hear that he was from Vienna and as a small child experienced life in a ghetto in Nazi Austria.

    I couldn’t stop myself from asking this sweet old man many questions about his experience.

    “When I was eight years old I learned to hide and keep away from the windows in our apartment.”

    “Why did you have to keep away from the windows?”

    “Because I would be shot at by snipers”, he replied with no bitterness or malice in his voice.

    Over the next hour he told me that his father was sent to a concentration camp, but he and his mother escaped from Vienna to England, and lived in a series of homes, sometimes separated for long periods of time, until they could afford their own home. His mother worked as a housekeeper in a boarding school, so he was lucky enough to have the chance to learn excellent English.”

    “Tell them about the project,” his wife prompted him.

    His chest swelled with pride as he explained that a few years ago some teenagers in Austria had been given the chance to find Holocaust survivors in England; write about their experience, then invite them to revisit their childhood homes in Austria.

    I could not imagine how upsetting it would be for me to re visit a place where such horrors had taken place.

    “So how did you feel?” I asked.

    “Well, it looked very different but the students were very kind and tried to get the people who now lived in my family’s old home to let us in and look around; but they refused.”

    I could not believe that this mild mannered man did not talk with hate and loathing in his voice. He had been made to feel very special to have his story on the school’s website and had been given such positive regard.

    Visit the following site if you want to know more about survivors.

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