Holocaust Survivor Walter Kammerling Gives Talk to English Students

English & Media

Over 150 students from across Itchen College gathered in the Drama Studio on Monday 21 November to hear testimony from Holocaust survivor Walter Kammerling.

The talk was organised by the English Department, in collaboration with the Parkes Institute for Jewish and Non-Jewish relations at the University of Southampton.

In a profoundly moving speech, Mr. Kammerling told of his experiences as a young teenager in Nazi-occupied Austria. He recalled witnessing the vandalism and violence of the infamous pogroms, persecution at the hands of Nazi soldiers and his escape to England on the Kindertransport. His immediate family were murdered in the Auschwitz death camp; his message to the students was, nevertheless, ultimately one of remembrance, compassion and resistance to contemporary forms of bigotry and intolerance.

Mr. Kammerling’s talk is the first stage of a series of events designed to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. In December, Creative Writing students will visit the Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London. Students will write pieces in response to these experiences, the best of which will be put on display as part of an exhibition taking place at Southampton Solent University. On 27 January, the anniversary of the Allied liberation of Auschwitz, Holocaust Memorial Day will be commemorated with a ceremony at Southampton Solent University, at which a select number of Itchen’s creative writers will perform their pieces.

We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Parkes Institute and our involvement in Holocaust Memorial Day; it is only through the lessons taught to us by the past that we may challenge and resist the conditions which allow hatred to thrive in the modern world.