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  1. ITV Report

Survivors' tales: The project ensuring the horrors of the Holocaust are never forgotten

Video report by Paul Davies

Survivors have broken years of silence about their memories of the Holocaust after a special project to gather testimonies from those that lived through it.

Natasha Kaplinsky was asked by the prime minister to take part in the project by the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation (UKHMF) as part of his promise to help Britain remember the Holocaust.

The presenter spoke to many people and uncovered previously unheard of British stories.

She interviewed 20 survivors and concentration camp liberators.

Here are the stories of two of the people Natasha spoke to:

Maurice Blik

Maurice Blik was taken to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Credit: ITV News

Maurice Blik, was just five years old when he was sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northern Germany with his mother, grandmother and sister.

His father was taken somewhere else, possibly Auschwitz or Warsaw, but this has never been confirmed and Maurice never saw him again.

When his father learned he was to be separated from the family, he asked Maurice to look after his mother and sister.

Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Credit: PA Wire

At just six years old, he stood up to Russian soldiers to protect his sister from being taken.

Maurice has many memories from his year in the camp. His mother was pregnant when they arrived in Belsen and his little sister was born there although died before she reached her first birthday.

He also can remember the guards and different occasions when people were badly treated.

Maurice now lives in Tiptree in Essex with his wife.

Agnes

Agnes speaking to ITV News. Credit: ITV News

The Nazi regime occupied Hungary on 19th March 1944. Agnes was eleven years old. She remembers seeing the German army walking down the main street in Budapest that day.

The family decided to leave for the city of Debrecen, although her mother's cousin - Aunt Ruth - stayed in Budapest. Shortly after, Aunt Ruth was killed and thrown into the Danube River.

It was a difficult journey to Debrecen. The law prohibited Jews to travel - they couldn't own bicycles, ladders or radios either. Yet Agnes' family didn't look Jewish with their blonde hair.

The family lived in a Ghetto. There were 12 people in the house, sharing two rooms.

In June that year Germans cleared the Ghetto. She narrowly missed deportation to Auschwitz when her train was diverted. Her family survived due to a number of lucky escapes.

However she did end up in Strasshof camp and was then moved around to different labour camps. She lost a lot of weight and was given starvation rations.

Agnes says that the Nazis deprived her of a childhood. She was 24 when she arrived in Britain and said it was not until then that she was treated as a human being.

  • Anyone who has not given their testimony but would be interested in doing so can contact the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation on 02072718925 or on Twitter at @UKHMF