STUDENTS from Tarporley High School and Sixth Form College heard the testimony of Holocaust survivor Mala Tribich MBE as part of a visit organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust.

The testimony was followed by a question and answer session to enable students to better understand the nature of the Holocaust and to explore its lessons in more depth.

The visit was part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s extensive all-year-round Outreach Programme, which is available to schools across the UK.

Head teacher Sarah Lee said: “It was a privilege for us to welcome Mala Tribich to our school and her testimony will remain a powerful reminder of the horrors so many experienced.

“We are grateful to the Holocaust Educational Trust for co-ordinating the visit and we hope that by hearing Mala’s testimony, it will encourage our students to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and make a positive difference in their own lives.”

Karen Pollock MBE, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: “The Holocaust Educational Trust educates and engages students from across the UK, from all communities about the Holocaust and there can be no better way than through the first-hand testimony of a survivor.

“Mala’s story is one of tremendous courage during horrific circumstances and by hearing her testimony, students will have the opportunity to learn where prejudice and racism can ultimately lead.

“At the Trust, we impart the history of the Holocaust to young people, to ensure that we honour the memory of those whose lives were lost and take forward the lessons taught by those who survived.”

The following information is from the Holocaust Educational Trust’s website.

Mala was born Mala Helfgott in 1930 in Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland. When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, Mala’s family fled eastwards.

When they returned, Mala’s family had to move into the ghetto which was established in her hometown, the first in Poland. Life in the ghetto was terrible with families living in overcrowded, unhygienic conditions.

The family decided it would be safer for Mala and her cousin, Idzia Klein, to be taken to the city of Częstochowa to try to pass as Christian children and stay there until the deportations were over.

A couple named Maciejewski came to their home to collect payment in advance and it was arranged that Mala would be collected first and Idzia a week later; it would have been too dangerous to take two Jewish children on the train at the same time.

Mala and Idzia were taken to a house on the edge of Częstochowa and pretended to be relatives from Warsaw. Life was at times uncertain for the girls and they often felt vulnerable.

Sometimes it was safe to mix with visitors, but at other times the girls had to hide in a wardrobe and stay there until they had left.

Both Mala and Idzia missed their parents but it was still not safe for them to return. When Idzia told the Maciejewskis that she could go and stay with good friends of her parents, who were hiding their valuables, they took her there.

Mala was eventually taken back to Piotrków where her father was waiting for her in the attic of a flour mill with Idzia’s father. On seeing Mala he turned white with shock and said, “Where is my daughter?” Idzia was never seen again.

Shortly after Mala’s return to the ghetto, there were further round ups during which her mother and eight-year-old sister were taken. All these people were murdered in the local forest. Soon afterwards Mala had to undertake the responsibility of caring for her five-year-old cousin Ann Helfgott, whose mother was deported to a concentration camp.

When the ghetto was liquidated, Mala became a slave labourer until November 1944, when the remaining Jews were deported. Mala was separated from her father and brother and together with Ann was sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp.

After about 10 weeks they were transported in cattle trucks to Bergen-Belsen where conditions were appalling and Mala contracted typhus.

At the time of the liberation by the British army, Mala was very ill. She was transferred to a hospital/children’s home and it was many weeks before she recovered.

Three months later she was sent, with a large group of children, to Sweden where she spent nearly two years. Not expecting any of her family to be alive, Mala was surprised to receive a letter from her brother Ben in England, the only other member of her close family to have survived.

In March 1947 Mala came to England to be reunited with Ben. She learnt English, attended secretarial college and within a year was working in an office.

In 1949 she met Maurice, whom she married in 1950. Whilst her children were growing up, Mala studied and gained a degree in Sociology from the University of London. Today Mala has two children and three grandchildren.

Mala speaks for the Holocaust Educational Trust, and for more information about the Trust please visit