Survivor Renate Collins shares incredible story on Holocaust Memorial Day

A Holocaust refugee has shared her remarkable story of survival on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Renate Collins, 87, who lives in Monmouth, escaped the horrors of a Nazi invasion when she was just five years old.

She lived only because she was put on the last train out of Prague before World War Two broke out.

Renate recalled: "The German soldiers were on the platform and when the train was due to go out, they caught hands to make a line so that the parents couldn't jump on the train."

Renate was only five years old when she came to Wales.

The little girl was sent to stay with a foster family in the south Wales town of Porth, knowing just two words of English - 'Yes' and 'No'.

She arrived in Wales with no idea that the journey would change her life forever.

"I don't think any of us realised that we would never go back," she said.

"Most of us thought that when the war was over, we'd be going back - although I don't think our parents did."

Renate Collins continues to share her story as a Holocaust survivor.

Renate was the only child of a Jewish banker and a nurse.

The day she boarded the train in Prague was the last time she ever saw her mother and father, who were both shot on the way to a concentration camp.

"What they must have gone through - you can't comprehend it," she said.

"You never forget it. That's why I felt I had to go and tell my story, which I still do."

Despite losing 64 family members in total during the Holocaust, Renate believes that she's lived a happy life.

She married her husband, David, and has two children and five grandchildren.

Today, Mrs Collins also said she believes that the coronavirus pandemic has brought us all together.

"It's hitting the rich and the poor - it doesn't distinguish between any of us," she said.

People will light a candle in their window and national monuments will be bathed in purple light on Wednesday evening to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in recognition of the millions killed in the genocide.

The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cambridge, Premier League footballers and the Prime Minister are among those to support the day of remembrance.

Charles, patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, urged people to ensure survivors' stories are remembered forever amid the dwindling number able to bear first-hand witness to the horrors of the genocide, which saw millions of Jews and other minorities executed during the Second World War at the hands of the Nazis.

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