On Thursday 26th February, the students in Year 9 Ash were very privileged to be able to hear the story of Mindu Hornick, one of the few remaining survivors of Auschwitz.
At 85 years of age Mindu, who now lives in Birmingham, travels the country speaking to young people to help ensure that the horror of the Holocaust is never forgotten or repeated.
Born to Jewish parents in a small town outside Prague, Mindu’s hay merchant father was forced into the army after the German occupation, she never saw him again. The family was sent to a Hungarian ghetto, from where around 70 Jewish women and children were loaded onto a tiny rail carriage and taken to, the now notorious, Auschwitz camp.
When they arrived at the camp a Polish prisoner advised Mindu’s mother to send her and her sister Eva ahead and to lie about their age. They said they were 17 and 19 and were seamstresses, this ultimately saved their lives, but they never saw their mother or brothers again. They were forced into slave labour and were paraded out everyday for selection of prisoners to be sent to the gas chambers. They witnessed many people killed and tortured.
In 1942 Mindu and her sister were sent to an underground ammunition factory again to work as slave labour. Constantly in a state of hunger and exhaustion Mindu says it was sheer luck that her and her sister survived.
After being liberated by the Allied Forces in May 1945 Mindu initially returned to Prague, but was forced to flee to live with an uncle in Birmingham in 1948 during the Soviet occupation.
Students and staff were visibly moved by the story, which was so shocking and graphic. Students also had the opportunity to ask Mindu any questions that they wanted.
You can hear Mindu’s story by clicking here
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