Holocaust Survivor, Ruth Barnett

On Wednesday 13th March, we were honoured to have a Holocaust Survivor, Ruth Barnett, come to our school. She shared her testimony with a number of students and teachers regarding her personal experiences as a result of the Holocaust. Ruth arrived in Britain at the age of four on the Kindertransport with her older brother Martin, where they were separated from their parents. The Kindertransport enabled the rescue of 10, 000 German Jewish children.

Importantly, in her speech, Ruth described the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust as genocides are still occuring to this present day, yet are often denied in our ‘post truth’ society. She also touched upon the promotion of kindness as well as the importance of never being a bystander. Ruth was able to survive the Holocaust due the role of a man named Wilfrid Israel. He was an Anglo-German businessman and philanthropist who risked his life in order to save children, including Ruth, from the war and the Holocaust through the Kindertransport. The example of Wilfrid Israel demonstrates the importance of not being a bystander to discrimination and oppression, as through his work, he was able to save thousands of lives.

One particularly moving quote that Ruth Barnett emphasised was; "I challenge you to become an upstander instead of a bystander". This is the perfect encapsulation in regards to what we should take away from a tragic event such as the Holocaust.