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NewVIc students remember the Holocaust with survivor Steven Frank at Stratford Picture House

More than ninety NewVIc students and staff attended the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Event this Thursday 18 January at Stratford Picture House, ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day which will be held on 27 January.

Using film footage and photographs about the personal account of the holocaust, survivor Steven Frank delivered an inspiring and invaluable experience to share his personal experience of how the holocaust affected him and his family. Steven Frank was born in 1935 to a well-known Dutch lawyer Leonard Frank. With the outbreak of war, the family remained in Holland because Leonard was a board member that governed one of the most advanced Jewish mental hospitals in the world. Joining the Dutch Resistance Leonard organised false papers to enable people to escape across the border to the safety of Switzerland, he helped Jews to find hiding places including his own home. Miraculously he achieved all of this, while working reluctantly for the Jewish Council of Amsterdam, where he was forced to carry out Nazi orders.

In 1942 he was betrayed and arrested in his office in Amsterdam and imprisoned, tortured and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau where, due to his poor physical condition, he was gassed in January 1943.

NewVIc student Adriana Perez who is currently studying GCSE’s in History, English and Psychology said “we learnt a little about the holocaust in class, but this was more intensive I feel stronger in my knowledge to talk about it to others. Listening to Steven and watching the videos makes me think that we don’t fully appreciate the life we have. I feel this experience teaches us to realise the effects of racism and the importance of taking a stand”

Steven’s remarkable ability to reach acceptance and hold no anger was all too apparent as he explained his feelings.’’ There is no room for hatred in my heart. I have forgiven all of those that have wronged me during the holocaust and I am at peace with myself now”.

Steven ended his talk with some final thoughts brought on from the Q&A: “There is so much evil in the world. Race and religious prejudices are still prevalent…we must not forget the past and what happened, think about what I have seen in the holocaust and how we can make the world different place.”

The Nazis assumed power in Germany in 1933, using propaganda, persecution, and legislation to deny human and civil rights to Jews. They used centuries of antisemitism as their foundation. By the end of the Holocaust, six million Jewish men, women and children had perished in ghettos, mass-shootings, in concentration camps and extermination camps.

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NewVIc (Newham Sixth Form College) is a place to learn, thrive and achieve for students aged 16-18. It combines high quality facilities with excellent teaching, tailored support and a strong sense of community. An investment of £8m in a new building which opened in 2017 provides a state-of-the-art technology-enabled learning resource centre.

Established in 1992, the College celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2017/18. It has 2,500 students and is based in Plaistow, Newham.