Holocaust survivor talk – 22/07/2015
St John Fisher Catholic High School were delighted to invite Mala Helfgott to talk to our Year Nine students about her life during the Holocaust.
Born in Poland, she described how her family had fled when the Nazis invaded and on return explained about living in the Ghettos crowded and unhygienic conditions.
She mentioned about her family’s painful decision to send Mala and her cousin Idzia to Czestochiowa to try and pass as Christian children in order to be safe. During their stay they spent many a time hiding in a wardrobe from visitors and also felt vulnerable.
Sadly Mala and Idzia were separated and Idzia was never seen again. Mala returned to her family only to be faced with her mother and eight year old sister being taken and murdered.
Mala ended up being separated from her father and brother and was sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. After being moved to several places she was sent to Bergen Belsen where she contracted typhus. Mala was liberated from Bergen Belsen by British troops and was sent to Sweden for almost two years where she regained her strength.
Not expecting any of her family to be alive, Mala was surprised to receive a letter from her brother who was living in England.
In 1947 Mala came to England to be reunited with her brother. She also attended college, got a job and met her husband.
Mala now has a degree in Sociology and has a loving family.