As we look ahead to next week, I felt it fitting to mention Holocaust Memorial Day. Monday 27th January 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. At various points during the Second World War, up to 10% of students at Frensham were refugees or children seeking to build a new life in England. Amongst them was Steven Frank BEM who fled from Holland with his mother and brother after his father died in Auschwitz and having been incarcerated himself in Thereseinstadt. Steven went on to found the Holocaust Educational Trust and frequently speaks in schools in memory of the 15,000 children who did not survive Thereseinstadt. In December 2019, Steven won a BAFTA for a film made with his granddaughter Maggie called Finding My Family: Holocaust. It was shown as a Newsround Special and is still available on iPlayer should you wish to watch it with your children. It is incredibly moving.
Looking back to the 1946 edition of the Frensham magazine and the reflections within it of some of our students, I have been struck by the importance then, as now, of community and friendship – irrespective of where we have come from. Lord Claus Moser, who was at Frensham in the late 1930s referred to the importance of universal rather than national values and that what really mattered at Frensham was whether you were a ‘good member of the community’. This spirit of universal community was evident again in the early 1990s when we were joined by two children seeking refuge from the Bosnian War.
This year the Holocaust Memorial Day is urging communities to ‘Stand Together’ and support those in need. When Steven spoke in Morning Talk last year, he said that ‘True friendship means when you have a friend and that friend’s in trouble, you help them; you do not turn your back and walk away’. Wise words and ones I would hope resonate with everyone here at Frensham.
With best wishes