Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Hope from Horror - Story of a Holocaust Survivor

Dorit Oliver Wolff, Holocaust survivor with students of St Paul's
Carolyn Russell, Year 13, St. Paul’s Catholic College, Burgess Hill reports:
"Earlier this year the students and staff at St. Paul’s Catholic College had the honour of welcoming Dorit Oliver Wolff into College to speak to Years 9, 12 and 13 of her personal Holocaust experience.  

She told us of her life from five to nine years old and described the constant dehumanisation of the minority groups in Nazi - occupied Europe. However, despite her sombre topic, Dorit also, humorously, focussed on the positives and on hope, with an extract “My Little Christmas Tree” read from her soon to be published book and she pressed upon us the importance of the similarities between all peoples. Dorit urged the students and staff not to focus on the differences between us, which often lead to trouble, but the similarities that join all people together. She reminded us that, for many, the Holocaust did not end after the liberation of the camps in 1945 as persecution continued into post- war peace, due to the survivors marked differences to other social groups.

Dorit’s visit had a huge impact on Sixth Form, with one Year 12 student commenting: "Learning to respect other people independent of their race or religion is one of the biggest lessons you can learn. Dorit made me realise how lucky I am". We, as a collective, having listened to Dorit, are in a powerful position. We are possibly the last generation to benefit from personal first- hand accounts from survivors, such as Dorit. It is our responsibility to ensure their stories are not lost and are retold to future generations. Only by this can we to try to prevent the persecution and atrocities such as the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur from reoccurring.

It truly is only by learning from the mistakes of the past that we can make a better tomorrow."

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