Monday 25 September 2017

Learn from past, urges Holocaust survivor

Holocaust survivor and children's author Uri Orlev with his wife of 50 years, Ya'ara.
Holocaust survivor and children's author Uri Orlev with his wife of 50 years, Ya'ara.

Sarah Mac Donald

Acclaimed international children's writer and Holocaust survivor, Uri Orlev, has expressed regret over the recent incidents of anti-Semitism in Ireland. But the author said he was optimistic that people could learn the lessons of history and overcome prejudice.

Speaking to the Irish Independent after giving a lecture at Mater Dei Institute of Education in Dublin on the Holocaust through the eyes of a child, the award-winning writer said anti-Semitism and racism were a fact of life.

"I was anti-Semitic, too, as a child," he recalled of his childhood in Warsaw, where his nurse and family maids tutored him in the Catholic faith.

But everything changed under the Nazis for the future author of 34 children's classics. His father was a doctor who was called up to serve in the Polish army. Orlev, his mother and younger brother were moved to the Warsaw ghetto for Jews. In 1943 their mother was killed by the Germans and the boys were deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, which was liberated in April 1945.

In Dublin, he explained that he and his wife Ya'ara, had lost between them in the region of 100 relatives in the Holocaust.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News