Dutch Jewish schoolchild in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 5/1940-3/1943; inmate in Barneveld and Westerbork Transit Camps, Netherlands, 3/1943-9/1944 and Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, Czechoslovakia, 9/1944-5/1945
REEL 1 Background in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1935-1940: family; lifestyle; question of degree of Jewish identity. Recollections of period as schoolchild in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 5/1940-3/1943: reaction to the arrival of German troops; introduction of anti-Semitic measures; impact of occupation on education; reaction to wearing Star of David; lack of anti-Semitism amongst non-Jewish friends; disappearance of father and his fate, 12/1942; reaction of mother to father's disappearance; continuing education; rations; awareness of deportations; reasons for not escaping to GB in early stages of war; story of father's non-Jewish friends petitioning German authorities for clemency for his father.
REEL 2 Continues: nature of deportations of Jews from Netherlands. Aspects of period as inmate in Barneveld Transit Camp, Netherlands, 3/1943-9/1943: background to being sent to camp; camp activities; character of brothers; character of camp; contracting impetigo; question of escape from camp; memories of entomologist Professor Spijer. Recollections of period as inmate in Westerbork Transit Camp, Netherlands, 9/1943-9/1944: removal to camp; description of camp and barrack accommodation; latrines; living conditions and state of health; games played by children; story of being attacked by guard dog; attitude towards camp police.
REEL 3 Continues: transitory character of camp; bureaucratic nature of camp; weekly transport of bound to German concentration and extermination camps in the east; reaction of inmates to deportees list; camp alphabet devised by child inmates; death of elderly inmate during attack on camp by RAF aircraft, 5/1945; move to No 72 Barrack; psychological impact of life in camp; preparations for deportation to Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia, 9/1944. Recollections of period as inmate in Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia, 9/1944-5/1945: description of train journey in cattle truck to camp, 9/1944; interrogation on arrival in camp; origins of camp.
REEL 4 Continues: story of how camp was prepared for visit by Swiss Red Cross delegation; watching football match put on for Swiss Red Cross; accommodation; reason for mother volunteering to work in hospital laundry; removal with siblings to children's block; games played and activities; story of how mother brought food to them in children's block; discovery of store of clothes taken from inmates; acquiring chess set from store; witnessing selection of child inmates for transportation.
REEL 5 Continues: sight of Allied aircraft overhead and distant bombing; receiving Red Cross parcel; anticipation of end of Second World War; contracting mumps; arrival of British POWs; speculation on fate of inmates; story of how family were refused place on transport to Switzerland; disposal of ashes of camp dead; situation in camp, 4/1945-5/1945; story of how mother wrote down Prime Minister Winston Churchill's announcement of end of Second World War, 8/5/1945. Aspects of liberation of Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, Czechoslovakia, 5/1945-6/1945: liberation of camp by Soviet Army; arrival of International Red Cross; restrictions on food supply; treatment of German guards by inmates; atmosphere in camp, 5/1945; leaving camp with intention of moving to GB, 6/1945.
REEL 6 Continues: Aspects of journey from Czechoslovakia to GB, 6/1945: move to Pilsen, Czechoslovakia; mother's refusal to enter Displaced Persons camp in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia; mother's obtaining place in RAF Vickers Wellington; flight from Pilsen, Czechoslovakia to Croydon, GB via Paris, France; reception on arrival in GB; kindness of British policeman to him and his siblings; mother's reunion with her father, Simon Van Lier; memories of grandfather. Aspects of period as schoolchild in GB, 1945- physical condition and treatment; joining Waifs and Strays Society in Doncaster; attitude towards staying with various Jewish families in Weston-super-Mare; kindness of his elder brother's foster father, Dr Morley.
REEL 7 Continues: attitude towards Jewish background; return to London to live with mother; continuing education; medical problems and treatment; ability to stand up for self; attitude towards Jewish faith; further education and difficulties of learning; continuing studies and employment. Aspects of period as signaller with Royal Signals in GB and Cyprus, 1954-1955: call up to Catterick Camp; attitude towards National Service; watching film on liberation of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.
REEL 8 Continues: posting to Egypt then Cyprus; return to GB. Reflections on Holocaust experience: reunion with RAF pilots who flew family to GB, 6/1945; learning to talk of experiences; story of how he was invited by local vicar to light candle for Amnesty International and talk about experiences, 1995; talking about experiences to schools from 1996; reads poem written by Connie Rosenheimer in Theresienstadt Concentration Camp.
One of the most memorable elements of the Holocaust Exhibition is the video testimony by survivors which accompanies visitors along the route. But what happened to the survivors after the Second World War? How did they rebuild their lives in the years that followed their release from Nazi persecution?
As the Allies advanced across Europe at the end of the Second World War, they came across concentration camps filled with sick and starving prisoners. The first major camp to be liberated was Majdanek near Lublin, Poland in July 1944.