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Remembering the Holocaust

The film The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is based on a novel. The novel features a fictional story set against a background of real events – the persecution and the extermination of the Jewish communities from across Europe in concentration camps set up by the Nazis.

The terrible events that took place during this time are remembered in history lessons, in literature and on film: school children and adults now visit the sites of the death camps and concentration camps, learning about what happened there, and survivors from the camps also tell their stories so that future generations won’t forget.

Film Education spoke to one of these survivors, Eva Neumann. Eva has made the UK her home but as a child, she experienced the horrific events of the Holocaust first-hand. You can read the full transcript of the interview, and listen to extracts from Eva’s story, in these pages.

Extract 1:

Why do you think the Holocaust should be remembered? (Transcript)

Extract 2:

What message do you think students could take away from the film The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas? (Transcript)

Extract 1:

People should know what happened because it shouldn’t have happened before, it definitely… the longer you can keep it alive, I mean now really there are very few of us left who can still say, I was there and I’ve seen it and I felt it and I know it but if we give it over to them and the longer we remember, maybe it will just help not to repeat it again. Look, you can’t prevent wars, you can’t prevent enemies but in this kind of way which is the most brutal way I think, shouldn’t happen again and I think it does help. That’s my opinion, that’s why I take groups, lots of groups to Auschwitz and show them and talk to them, and hoping that this will prevent something sometime somewhere.

Extract 2:

The only message I can tell you is that if you are a child and you’ve got no prejudices about nations and enemies -and these children in the film were not told, one was suffering and the other one wasn’t but they didn’t know, they were innocent -and they had this comradeship and it just shows that children are innocent. If you don’t spoil their minds and if you keep that friendship, it’s good to take it with you and remember that friends can survive. You should always remember the other person and they show us, these two kids show us, that friendship and human feelings which have not been spoilt by the outside world, is very very important… I believe in it, I loved the film, I really did, I felt that I knew that fellow, I did meet him once, I did see him once the fellow was who was portrayed, Heinz and I knew their mentalities of not telling their wives and to me it’s very very real.