Sixth Form College students hear all about Holocaust survivor's remarkable journey

Date published: 31 January 2024

Oldham Sixth Form College hosted a unique and enlightening event, enabled by the Northern Holocaust Education Group, as part of Holocaust Memorial Day.

Stuart Ferster, son of the late Holocaust survivor Chaim Ferster, shared his father's remarkable journey of resilience and survival during World War II.

Chaim Ferster was born on July 18, 1922 in Sosnowiec, Poland.

He had three sisters, but he and his younger sister Manya were the only members of a large extended family who survived the Holocaust.

From March 1943, Chaim went through seven concentration camps.

In September 1944 he arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

After six weeks he was selected to work as an engineer.

After a horrendous journey in cattle trucks in which many people died, he arrived at Niederorschel in Germany.

He worked in a factory assembling the wings for Junker planes.

At the beginning of April 1945, the camp was closed and all the inmates were ordered onto a death march.

On the evening of the 10th April 1945 they arrived at Buchenwald.

The camp was liberated the following day.

After being reunited with his sister Manya, he resettled in the UK.

In 1947 he met his wife in Manchester and in 1948 they married.

Chaim was married for 65 years, until his wife passed away in 2014.

He had three children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Jack Evans, OSFC's Curriculum Area Leader for Humanities, said: "Hearing Stuart recount his father Chaim Ferster's harrowing journey through the Holocaust gives our students a personal connection to history, transcending textbook narratives and fostering a deeper understanding of human resilience and the consequences of ideologies driven by hatred.

"Chaim's story, as told by his son, serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of tolerance, empathy, and the responsibility each generation carries to combat prejudice and ensure such atrocities never occur again."

A student in attendance, Aaliyah Ahmed from Year 12, said: “Hearing a first hand account of the holocaust really opened my eyes and changed my perspective on life in general.

"It's taught me to be more grateful for the things I have and the freedom I take for granted."

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