S9 were recently privileged to hear the testimony of holocaust survivor Rudi Oppenheimer.
A German Jew by origin, his mother, brother and he managed to get permission to visit an uncle in London where his sister Eve was born, providing her with a British allegiance that helped some of the family survive. Rudi’s father could only get a job in Amsterdam and so by 1940 the family were once more living under Nazi rule and life got harder by the month. They were later deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where Rudi’s mother and father sadly perished of typhus leaving the children to be looked after by other Jewish people and forced to steal food to stay alive. After the war ended, the three children came to London to live with their uncle and aunt with both boys going on to become engineers. The eldest brother was eventually awarded the MBE for services to engineering.
Being able to meet and hear from Rudie Oppenheimer was the central part of our day at the centre, exploring the museum, spending time in the memorial gardens and considering big questions about the fateful choices that were part of the Holocaust. It was a thought-provoking day, with much resonance and plenty of lessons for all of us to take away.