Holocaust Survivor Harry Olmer visits Our Lady's
Our Lady's had the opportunity to listen to Harry Olmer where he spoke about his experiences
Report by Ms Rose
Year 9 had the opportunity to listen to the testimony of Holocaust survivor Harry Olmer. He spoke eloquently about his experiences, and the students had a huge amount of questions for him. Students have really appreciated learning about the experiences in person, rather than in a textbook, as it 'puts a face to the story', as one student said. We would like to thank the Holocaust Education Trust and Harry for working closely with the school in the weeks leading up to this visit. A message Harry left the students with was to keep faith, stay compassionate and never give up hope. Above all, 'be human'.
It is a privilege for us to welcome Harry Olmer to our school and his testimony will remain a powerful reminder of the horrors so many experienced. We are grateful to the Holocaust Educational Trust for co-ordinating the visit and we hope that by hearing Harry’s testimony, it will encourage our students to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and make a positive difference in their own lives.
About Harry Olmer
Harry was born on 15th November 1927 in Sonsowiec in Poland. Soon after the Nazis occupied Poland, harry and his family moved to a small town where Harry’s grandmother lived. Here, they were forced to work for the Germans every day until 1942 when all the Jews from the area were taken away. Harry and his brother and father were sent to Plaszow concentration camp where Harry worked on a railway line. From here, he was sent to Skarzysko Munitions Factory where he was forced to work pouring liquid sulphur into bomb shells for the German Army.
Later, in 1943, Harry was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp where he stayed for two weeks working in a quarry. He was then transported to Schleiben and then on to Theresienstadt in April 1945. Here, he was liberated by Russian troops on 8th May.
In August 1945, Harry was brought to the UK as part of an initiative of the Central British Fund for Jews to allow 1,000 child Holocaust survivors into the country. After a period of recuperation in Windemere, he moved to Glasgow. Despite not knowing any English when he arrived, Harry completed his Higher exams in 1947 and later qualified as a dentist. Harry later married and has four children. He continues to work as a dentist and to share his experiences during the Holocaust with young people.
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust added:
“The Holocaust Educational Trust educates and engages students from across the UK, from all communities about the Holocaust and there can be no better way than through the first-hand testimony of a survivor. Harry’s story is one of tremendous courage during horrific circumstances and by hearing his testimony, students will have the opportunity to learn where prejudice and racism can ultimately lead.
“At the Trust, we impart the history of the Holocaust to young people, to ensure that we honour the memory of those whose lives were lost and take forward the lessons taught by those who survived.”