Holocaust survivor and guest speaker Janine Webber
To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, 40 Woodhouse students attended an event at Finchley Reform Synagogue where they took part in workshops and listened to survivors stories. Many of them were stunned, shocked and moved by the main speaker, Janine Webber.
Janine (now 84 years young, with more energy than most) told a harrowing but deeply profound story of survival and loss. She was born in Lwów in Poland (now L'viv, Ukraine) in 1932. Following the Nazi-Soviet Pact, Lwów was occupied by the Red Army in 1939 and remained under Soviet rule until June 1941 when Germany invaded the USSR. Persecution of the Jews of Lwow began immediately, and Janine and her family had to leave their apartment and all of their belongings and move into an area outside of the town, in preparation for the establishment of a ghetto.
You can read more of her story here...
In groups, students were encouraged to try and recreate the experience of a young child who is forced to flee home having lost their entire family (as Janine was in 1941). What would they bring? How would they survive? What makes them individuals? At the end of the afternoon's events, all the students wrote a postcard addressed to Janine.
Woodhouse student Noufel Mansouri wrote "I was deeply moved by your talk as I also come from a family and place which experienced oppression and intolerance. Hearing your story was life-changing."
Woodhouse would like to thank our wonderful hosts at the synagogue, a group of volunteers who made us feel most welcome.
Ruth Wildish (who organised the event) said "It was enjoyable to talk to your lovely A level students and see how thoughtful they are."