A holocaust survivor has visited Caerphilly County Borough to share his story with school pupils and members of the public.
On Thursday, January 30, Dr Martin Stern MBE, met around 400 school pupils from St Martin’s, St Cenydd, Bedwas High, Heolddu and Lewis Girls School for events at Newport Riverfront and Llancaiach Fawr, near Nelson.
After speaking to the pupils, Dr Stern, 81, shared his experiences with an audience at Caerphilly County Borough Council’s headquarters in Ty Penallta.
Dr Stern was born in the Netherlands to German parents in 1938. His parents had fled Nazi-ruled Germany because his father was Jewish.
As a child, Dr Stern was hidden in Amsterdam, near to where Anne Frank was hiding.
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Aged five, Dr Stern was arrested at school and sent to the concentration camp in Theresienstadt, in present-day Czech Republic.
After speaking to more than 4,500 people during a week-long visit to south Wales, Dr Stern said: “The response from the schools was extremely good – better than in other parts of the country. It was so heartwarming.
“I have been all over the UK and I wanted to come to South Wales.”
He added: “I have to say that I’ve heard the most fantastic music in schools here. They are so competent – especially a young lady who played the harp on Wednesday. (January 28)”
Dr Stern moved to England in 1950 aged 12, he studied Medicine at Oxford and became a specialist in asthma and allergic diseases.
Since retiring in 2002, Dr Stern has worked in education at The National Holocaust Centre in Laxton, Nottinghamshire, and with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. He is a member of the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Leicester.
In 2018 he was awarded an MBE for services to Holocaust education by the Queen.
Cllr Julian Simmonds, Mayor of Caerphilly County Borough, said: “I hope this experience will act as a reminder about the importance of remembering and honouring the memory of those whose lives were lost and that we all take forward the lessons taught by those who survived.
“I’d like to thank Dr Martin Stern for taking the time to recite his personal experiences with us all at Penallta House.”