THE horrors of the Holocaust were brought home to a group of students, by a woman who survived it.
Joanna Millan, 71, visited Hope Academy to speak to year nine pupils about the devastation it brought to her life.
Having lost both parents in concentration camps, Joanna, who was born Bela Rosenthal in Berlin, was orphaned and alone in Theresienstadt, a concentration camp 50 miles outside Prague.
After the liberation, Bela was flown to England, where after spells in several children’s homes, she was adopted by a Jewish couple living in London.
They told her not to mention the fact that she was born in Germany and to pretend she was their natural daughter.
Her name was changed to Joanna, so it sounded “more English”.
Joanna’s story was followed a question and answer session, giving students a better chance to understand the Holocaust. Her visit is part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s extensive Outreach programme, which is available to schools across the UK.
Hope Academy Principal John Gannon said: “It is a privilege for us to welcome Joanna to our school and her testimony will remain a powerful reminder of the horrors so many experienced. By hearing Joanna’s testimony, it will encourage our students to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and make a positive difference in their own lives.”
Karen Pollock MBE, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust added: “Joanna’s story is one of tremendous courage during horrific circumstances and students have the opportunity to learn where prejudice and racism can ultimately lead.
“At the Trust, we impart the history of the Holocaust to young people, to ensure that we honour the memory of those whose lives were lost and take forward the lessons taught.”