Holocaust Survivor Shares His Testimony

English & Media

Holocaust survivor Walter Kammerling visited Itchen College on Monday 4th December to give a moving testimony of his experiences as a Jewish teenager in Nazi-occupied Austria.

Accompanied by Graham Cole, of the Holocaust Educational Trust, and Katie Power, of Southampton University’s Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish and Non-Jewish Relations, Walter addressed an audience of over 150 students drawn from all faculties of the college, including English, History and Uniformed Public Services.

Walter’s talk vividly described his experiences under Nazi rule, including persecution in the streets by German soldiers and members of the Hitler Youth, and witnessing Hitler’s motorcade first hand. He described the desperate attempts by his family to secure places for himself and his sister on the Kindertransport trains, which shuttled 10,000 Jewish children and teenagers away from violence, oppression and segregation to new lives in Britain and Ireland. Often, these children were the only members of their families to survive the Holocaust; whilst Walter and his younger sister were successfully evacuated, his parents and older sister remained in Austria and were murdered in Auschwitz. Walter spoke with dignity and composure, ultimately focused on the lessons to be learned from these tragic events both now and in the future. Our students’ generation, he reminded us, will soon be leading the world – it is essential that the memories of this mass genocide are kept alive and acted upon when confronting prejudice and discrimination in today’s society.

Walter’s talk marked the first stage of Itchen’s involvement in Holocaust Memorial Day 2018. The theme for this year’s event is ‘the power of words’, and all students are invited to contribute written responses on this theme, with the best to be displayed at Solent University as part of the 2018 HMD commemorations.