Holocaust Commemoration - Hurstpierpoint College

Holocaust Commemoration

Several members of the Hurst Sixth Form recently had the pleasure of visiting Sussex University to hear Holocaust survivor Ivor Perl share his past experiences. Ivor personally spent a year in Auschwitz at the age of 12, and of his eight siblings, only he and his brother survived. Of his time spent in the concentration camp, one of Ivor’s most prominent memories is being told by an SS guard upon arrival that ‘now you are here, you are no longer a person. If you forget your number, you will cease to exist’.

The students found Ivor’s talk haunting and moving, and it encouraged them to deeply reflect on issues surrounding both the Holocaust and the question of genocide more broadly:

‘Ivor mentioned that the Holocaust started hundreds of years ago, with a culture of long-term anti-Semitism in Europe. I wondered, though, if he thought that the Holocaust was inevitable, and would have happened even if Hitler had not come to power’. – Sixth Form student

‘I thought that it was incredibly moving to witness how Ivor’s story has clearly impacted his daughter and granddaughter. As his family were Orthodox Jews, I wondered if he has managed to keep his faith after being subjected to such atrocities’. – Sixth Form student

‘I found Ivor’s talk particularly inspiring; he demonstrated that he still has a vibrant charisma and enjoyment of life. His life may have been shaped by the Holocaust, but it does has not fully defined or ruined it. I also found it particularly interesting that every Holocaust survivor’s experiences are so different from each other’. – Sixth Form student

Attending this talk gave our students not only a greater understanding of the extent of the atrocities committed under the Nazi regime, but also of the importance of continuing to remember this period of history. Hearing Ivor’s story has taught our students that though we must never forget, we should try to forgive, and to love rather than hate.