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Holocaust Survivor Visits Hayesbrook

Students studying History welcomed Holocaust survivor Hannah Lewis, who gave a moving account of her life before, during and after the Second World War.

They were joined by students from Hillview School for Girls, High Weald Academy and The Ebbsfleet Academy who all took up invites to come and learn from this 'once in a lifetime' experience.

Hannah Lewis was born in Włodawa, Poland, in 1937. She told students of her life in Włodawa before the war and of the tragic events which then unfolded after it was occupied by the Nazis in 1939.

In 1943, Hannah’s family were marched to the slave labour camp at Adampol where violent roundups and brutality took place. During the last winter of the war, Hannah fell ill with suspected typhoid and when her father, who had managed to escape, came to warn them of planned shootings the next day, her mother would not leave her. The following morning Hannah witnessed her mother being lined up and murdered beside the village well, together with other Jewish victims.

Hannah remained in the camp until she was liberated by the Russians in 1945.

After listening to Hannah’s experiences living under Nazi rule, her liberation by a Soviet soldier and adjustment to life in England where she settled in 1947, the audience were invited to ask questions. The students showed a great maturity and thoughtfulness, asking questions about forgiveness and the legacy of this period of history.