Holocaust Memorial Day marked at college with visit by Jewish woman who escaped Nazi Germany (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Holocaust Memorial Day marked at Waltham Forest College with visit by Jewish woman who escaped Nazi Germany
College students were visited by a Jewish woman who escaped Nazi Germany as they remembered the Holocaust earlier this week.
Young people at Waltham Forest College in Forest Road, Walthamstow, met Eve Kugler on Wednesday.
She described how her parents and sisters had survived even though her grandfathers, aunts, uncles and cousins all perished in Nazi concentration camps.
The Kuglers’ small department store in Halle was smashed up on Ksytallnacht, The Night of the Broken Glass, during widespread attacks on Jewish businesses in 1938.
They were then evicted but managed to flee to France, where her parents were held in transit camps for most of the war.
Eve and her sister took the places of two children who were too ill to make the journey on a ship to New York in 1941.
She said: "I believe my family is unique. We are the only Jewish family living in Germany at the start of the war where both parents and all their children were alive when the war ended.”
Students who visited Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland told of their shock at seeing the gas chamber and huge pile of shoes which represented the people who died there.
Wilsa Mendes said: "I realised that each pair represented an individual with a personality, a character.
“I now give more value to what other people feel than to what I feel."
They also learned that not only the jewish community were killed by the Nazis.
Waltham Forest's Mayor Councillor Richard Sweden, who attended the event, said afterwards: "I would be on that Nazi list on any number of counts. I am a socialist, trade unionist, I am gay and I have Jewish heritage.”
The College is also creating a memorial to the Holocaust in the reception hall, where a large pile of shoes left by students is being accumulated.
Another event commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day was held on Wednesday at Chingford Assembly Hall in Station Road, Chingford.
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