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Holocaust survivor gives a frank account to Rawdon pupils
A Holocaust survivor who has worked to end violence and bigotry across the world brought her message to schoolchildren in Airebor-ough.
Eva Schloss, the step sister of diarist Anne Frank, shared her thoughts with youngsters at Rawdon St Peter's School.
The pupils, along with visiting children from SS Peter and Paul School and Yeadon Westfield Primary, watched a performance of the play And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank.
The work was created by playwright James Still with the co-operation of Mrs Schloss, who had spent two years in hiding after the Germans invaded Holland in 1942, but was captured on her 15th birthday.
She survived nine months in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp but her father and brother both died. After the war her mother went on to marry Anne Frank's father.
It took 40 years before she began to share her story but since then she has written two books and spoken to more than 1,000 audiences.
In 1999 she joined the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in signing the Anne Frank Peace Declaration.
In Rawdon this week she stressed the relevance of the play and its message to today's society, in a world where there is still hatred and prejudice. She warned that small incidents in the playground can lead to bullying and can escalate into more serious offences in adulthood.
She believes knife crime is particularly relevant today and that children need to be educated and disciplined in school to avoid falling victim.
Mrs Schloss stressed it was important for young people to learn from historic events to hopefully stop them from ever happening again. The visit to St Peter's was organised by Key Stage 2 co-ordinator Sally Clark, who said it was part of a wider race equality policy.
She said the school had been lucky to get a performance of the play which was being staged at the Leeds Jewish Festival later that day, and which will also be performed at Trafalgar Square.
"It is a real honour because there is no way that we could have afforded it as a school," added Mrs Clark.
The director Nic Careem has described how he dreams of the piece being performed in both Israel and Palestine with a mixed cast in front of a mixed audience.
Mrs Clark said it was important for children to learn about the Holocaust.
She added: "Most Year 5 and 6 children have covered the war anyway so they have an understanding of the holocaust. You have to be very open and honest with the children, and they respect that. I think this topic very much needs to be linked to the modern day and to things that are happening in the world."