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Year 9 Holocaust Learning

Year 9 Holocaust Learning
Senior School

Year 9 pupils engaged in some Holocaust-themed workshops on Tuesday 6 February, as part of KES's marking of the event, which also included an earlier whole school Assembly.

Students investigated Jewish interpretations of the Holocaust and suffering in their RS session and mapped out the key turning points from antisemitism to industrial mass murder in the History session. The year group was then privileged to hear a talk from Uri Winterstein, a Holocaust survivor born in Slovakia in 1943 who lost nine members of his immediate family and only survived himself through the kindness and courage of strangers. Pupils were highly respectful and engaged most sensitively with this difficult, but vital, topic. 



About Uri

Uri Winterstein was born in Bratislava, Slovakia in October 1943. His parents were both lawyers, 
but his father’s main passion was the welfare of the Jewish community and he was very active 
in Jewish community affairs.

When Uri was only a month old, his parents put him in the care of a non-Jewish woman, and he 
was not reunited with his family until after the war. They did so because they realised that it 
would be very difficult to keep a baby quiet if they needed to go into hiding, an eventuality for 
which they felt they always had to be prepared.

Nine of Uri’s wider family were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were killed. During the 
war, Uri’s father was a member of an underground movement known as the Working Group, 
who attempted to halt the deportation of Jews from Slovakia for almost two years (from October 
1942 to late September 1944). They did this by bribing key SS officers and government officials.
In autumn 1944, Uri's father was deported to Terezin in what is today the Czech Republic. His 
mother and sister managed to evade being deported and went into hiding underground. 
However, they were eventually caught and sent to Terezin.

When the Russian army was approaching Bratislava, the family Uri was with decided to give 
him to a local peasant woman. This woman did not wish to be bothered with the care of a child 
and Uri received little attention. When he was reunited with his family at the end of the war, aged 
19 months old, he could not walk or talk and ate only a roll dipped in coffee, the food he had 
eaten during his stay with the woman. Despite this, without the minimal care she gave him, he 
could not have survived.

After the war, following the takeover of Czechoslovakia by the Communists in 1948, his family 
left the country and ended up in Brazil, where Uri grew up.

Uri is married and has two daughters, a son and five grandchildren. He lives in Chiswick and 
has been speaking in schools for the Trust since 2013.


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Year 9 Holocaust Learning