Building Bridges

Sue Mosco organized an event, at Ashton-on-Mersey High School, to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. It was intended to help young people to understand the significance of the occasion and to recognize the strength of character of those who experienced the Holocaust and those who managed to survive it.

Three survivors spoke of their experiences and how they managed to escape the persecution of the Nazis. Peter Kurer explained how he and his family were helped by the Quaker Society of Friends, who organized what became known as ‘Kinder Transport’ to evacuate children from Germany.

Gisela Feldman spoke of how attitudes towards her changed and her school friends were not allowed to play with her. Eventually they escaped when they bought visas from the Cuban Embassy and set sail on 13th May 1939 with 30,000 others. However, when they arrived they were not allowed entry into Cuba as the embassy in Germany had kept the money for the visas. After negotiation s failed with America and Canada they began a return trip, but again the Quakers had negotiated with the Governments of Britain and Europe to take 10,000 people each. As she said she was one of the lucky ones who got off the boat in Southampton!

Doris Angel, again told of how her school life became intolerable and the teachers eventually said they could not protect her from the bullying of other pupils. Her family owned a factory in Stuttgart when Hitler came to power. The factory was claimed by the Nazis and her family were taken to camps, Doris being helped to escape through Kinder Transport. In 2009 the Council in Stuttgart invited Doris to reopen the factory which had been refurbished as a textile museum and the area had been given the name of Doris’s family ‘Lowenstein Plaza’

Children from Ashton-on-Mersey, Worthington Road Primary and Woodheys Primary listened enthralled at the experiences of the survivors and built cardboard bridges displaying ideas of how to develop better relationships with people.

As the Mayor of Trafford, Councilor Patricia Young said, ‘they built a bridge between the past and the present’.