Leeds holocaust survivors’ stories brought to life in film

Children of the Holocaust was launched at Hyde Park Picture House.
Children of the Holocaust was launched at Hyde Park Picture House.
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The remarkable stories of six eyewitnesses to Nazi atrocities during World War Two have been brought to life for a young audience through animation.

Members of Leeds-based charity the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association have had their incredible experiences told through short films created by Fettle Animation for the BBC Learning Zone.

Fettle Animation Children of the Holocaust Animated Documentary

Fettle Animation Children of the Holocaust Animated Documentary

In ‘Children of the Holocaust’, the elderly survivors explain what happened to them during those harrowing years and the impact it had on their later lives. The testimonies include that of Trude Silman, 84, who grew up in Czechoslovakia, but was sent without her parents to England. She describes her isolation and difficulty learning a new language, and later trying to trace what happened to her parents.

In the film, she says: “One and a half million innocent children were killed during the Holocaust. Why should innocent people, just because they were Jewish, be killed for no reason at all? I don’t know who survived and who didn’t. I only know that I survived.”

The film also feautres 83-year-old Martin Kapel (pictured in animation, left), who was woken in the middle of the night as an eight-year-old boy, and expelled with thousands of other Jews to Poland, during the “Polkenaktion”, where

thousands were killed. He was rescued from Poland by the “Kindertransport” and taken to Coventry where he experienced the Blitz at its worst, surviving the roof being blown off the house he was staying in with foster parents.

Association chairwoman, Lilian Black, said members enjoyed the process. She added: “Their families have been really moved by the way their testimonies have been brought to life, and everyone is excited to be bringing their stories to a wider audience.”

Kath Shackleton, producer at West Yorkshire-based Fettle Animations, said it was a great project to work on: “It’s been a joy. Seeing their gratitude and gratefulness for life, it makes you value what you’ve got.”

Children of the Holocaust - which is already attracting invites to film festivals around the world - can be viewed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01zx5g7.

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