Students at Alsop High School moved by visit of Auschwitz Survivor
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Alsop High School are hosting the Anne Frank Trust exhibition to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz.
It is month-long initiative to promote respect and challenge prejudice and reduce hatred, and the exhibition was declared open by The Bishop of Liverpool, Rt. Revd. Paul Bayes.
Bishop Paul spoke about hope and placed a stone with the word inscribed from Liverpool Cathedral, next to six lanterns, lit to commemorate the six million Jews who perished during the Nazi regime.
The opening was also attended by The Auxillary Bishop of Liverpool Archdiocese, Bishop Tom Williams, Mr Ian Cohen, Chairman of Merseyside Jewish Representative Council and Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Erica Kemp.
Josh Ferris, Alsop Head Boy, who had visited Auschwitz as part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’, then introduced 84 year old Zigi Shipper to deliver his Auschwitz Survivor Testimony.
Mr Peter Bull, Co-ordinator of the Alsop Respect 2015 Initiative said: “Zigi Shipper challenges us all to learn lessons from the past. His inspirational story had a huge impact. The 350 students present were moved beyond words. He urged young people to love others in a practical way. His testimony gave students a first-hand opportunity to learn where prejudice and racism can ultimately lead.”
Zigi told his inspirational story of life during the Nazi regime. Zigi said that we cannot change the past, but we have the power to determine our future. He added that many people ask him “How can I remember?” to which he replies: “How can I forget when most of my family perished?” In 1944, he was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. For some unknown reason, he did not have a number tattooed on his arm. But his striped pyjamas had the number 84303.
A few weeks after arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau, all the surviving workers from the metal factory were sent to a concentration camp near Danzig. People were dying from starvation and freezing to death. However, with the Russians advancing, Zigi and the rest of his group were sent on a death march, arriving in the German town of Neustadt.
Zigi was liberated by the British Army on May 3, 1945. A few days later, he ended up in hospital for three months due to the effects of overeating after a long period of malnutrition. Once he left hospital, he was sent to a Displaced Persons’ Camp in Hamburg.
Zigi arrived in England in 1946 and married Jeanette in 1954. They have two daughters, six grandchildren and one great-grandson. He states that, since coming to England, “I have had a wonderful life”.
Later this month Zigi will return to Auschwitz for the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Zigi told the audience “I am not miserable, I am happy and I love people” He told those present that “We must not forget the 6,000,000 Jews who perished and we must not forget the other people who also perished in the Holocaust.”
He concluded his talk by reminding young people that “We must never forget so it doesn’t happen again.”
The Anne Frank Exhibition will be housed at St Luke’s Church, Goodison Road, L4 4EL.