Holocaust survivor shares her story with Attleborough Academy students

Holocaust survivor Janine Webber with sixth form students from Attleborough Academy, from left, Kiar

Holocaust survivor Janine Webber with sixth form students from Attleborough Academy, from left, Kiara Oluyole, Megan Free and Aaron Cahill. Picture: ATTLEBOROUGH ACADEMY - Credit: Archant

She survived one of the most horrific periods in history and faced starvation, disease and execution.

And now, 84-year-old Janine Webber has shared her incredible story of survival during the Holocaust with students at Attleborough Academy.

Emily Webb, the academy's assistant head of history, said the Year 10 to 13 students were enraptured by Mrs Webber's testimony of life in Poland under the Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

Mrs Webb said: 'She brought with her a message about the importance of toleration and many pupils left her talk amazed at her experiences and fortitude in dealing with them.

'One Year 11 student even stopped me in the hall later to tell me how the experience had been one of the most enlightening and special of his life.'


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Mr Webber, who lives in London, was born in Lwów in Poland - a city which is now called L'viv and is in Ukraine - into a Jewish family.

They were rounded up and forced to live in a ghetto when the Nazis took over.

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Her mother succumbed to typhus and her father was shot by the SS attempting to hide as the ghettos were cleared into concentration camps.

Although she managed to survive, Mrs Webber's path through the war was never easy.

Mrs Webb said: 'Janine escaped with her younger brother and aunt and went into hiding in a variety of different homes, never able to reveal her true identity.

'The hatred against Jews was so bad that one of the families brought a Gestapo officer home who shot her younger brother.

'Thankfully, Janine was reunited with her aunt and young cousin after the war and went on to live in France and England where she met her husband and raised two sons to be tolerant of all people.'

Mrs Webb said Mrs Webber's story was a 'powerful reminder of the dangers of intolerance'.

She said: 'We were very lucky to have met her as 95pc of the people forced in the Polish ghettos and later camps were never able to tell their story.

'In total it is estimated that the Nazis killed over six million Jewish people of Europe and nearly the same number of other people they also considered inferior.'

Mrs Webber said the students were: 'So kind and thoughtful. It was a real pleasure to visit.'

She also left a gift for the school's library.

Mrs Webb said: 'Janine has kindly donated a new book to our school library containing a number of stories from child survivors of the Holocaust, so that all pupils can have the opportunity to find out more about this event and the courage of the people who survived it.'

Mrs Webb said the students were 'spectacular in their show of gratitude' to Mrs Webber for travelling to the school and sharing her story.

She said: 'We truly hope that Janine can find time to visit us again soon.'

Has your school had an interesting visitor? Email your story to stuart.anderson@archant.co.uk

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