Monday 05th February, 2018

The moving words of a survivor

The life changing story of a Jewish childhood in 1930s Austria was movingly told to over 200 students from secondary schools and colleges across the borough at Stockton Sixth Form last week by Holocaust survivor Marc Schatzberger.

Marc gave a chilling account of life under Nazi rule, having witnessed first-hand the persecution suffered by Jewish people in Vienna, Austria, following its annexation by Germany in 1938. At aged 12, Marc’s parents made the agonising decision to send their only child on the Kinder Transport to Britain in the hope that he would escape the mounting difficulties of life as a Jew under Nazi rule. The plan was for them to join him in Britain at a later date: tragically this was never to happen.

As one of 10,000 Jewish children granted safety in Britain before the start of the Second World War, Marc took refuge in Margate, Kent, knowing very few words of English & only those fellow travellers he had met on the journey.

The audience listened intently for over 90 minutes as Marc shared postcards he had written & images he had kept, before explaining that it was not until after the end of the war in 1946 that he received an official letter informing him that his parents had both been killed in Auschwitz concentration camp.

Marc’s testimony was also one of hope: he settled In Britain, graduated as an engineer from Manchester University, married a fellow refugee from Austria & now enjoys his family that extends to great grandchildren. He still harbours deep anger towards those who committed the atrocities of the Holocaust, but is determined to continue to speak to audiences of young people to encourage tolerance towards others.

Organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust, the event was the latest in a series of opportunities for History students at Stockton Sixth Form, who have the opportunity to visit Auschwitz each year.

Neil Skerry, Vice Principal & Head of Centre at Stockton Sixth Form, said: “It was a great privilege for us to welcome Marc to our college and to share his powerful testimony with so many other Stockton students.”