THE tragic events of the Holocaust became vivid for almost 100 Waterlooville students who had a personal audience with a man who escaped the Nazis.
Youngsters aged between 13 and 15 from Crookhorn College of Technology met Holocaust survivor Joop Levy last week at Portsmouth’s City Museum, which is marking Holocaust Memorial Day with an exhibition.
Mr Levy, 75, was just six when he was forced to go into hiding with his parents on a farm after Germany occupied Holland. At one time they all hid in a tiny wooden room for weeks to evade capture.
Sarah Clark, 15, found the talk a real eye-opener. She said: ‘He showed us the ID card (with a letter J for Jew) his father had to have and it brought home the isolation people must have felt.’
Jordan Newman, 14, enjoyed the pieces of memorabilia Mr Levy brought with him, including his dad’s passport and an aeroplane made by his cousin, which was sent to him in hiding.
James Tout, 13, added: ‘Joop Levy had to hide in a wooden box under a pile of hay for two and a half weeks with German soldiers sleeping underneath. It was risky as the soldiers could have found him and sent him to a concentration camp.’
Matthew Carver, history co-ordinator at the school, expressed the importance of the visit.
He said: ‘It gave the students the opportunity to speak to someone who was there and experienced what it was like to live under Nazi occupation and who lost so much in the Holocaust.
‘It allowed them to see the events of the Holocaust as tragic events that had massive impacts on the lives of the people involved.
‘It was the first time I had ever had the opportunity to speak to a Holocaust survivor and it has added to the depth of my personal understanding of this terrible event.’