Year 9 spoke to Maralyn Turgel, the daughter of Holocaust survivor as part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s outreach programme

Friday 01 April 2022

On Friday 25 March, Year 9 had the opportunity to speak to Maralyn Turgel, the daughter of Holocaust survivor Sam Gardner as part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s outreach programme. Ms Turgel spoke to the year group about her father’s experiences as a Jewish teenager in Europe during World War Two and their effect on him throughout his life.

Sam was born in Poland in 1925 and was 13 years old when the Nazis invaded. Sam’s family hid from the German army but were found and taken to concentration camps in 1942. Most of Sam’s family were killed on arrival, but he and his father were made to work. Maralyn described the treatment Sam suffered in several camps across Poland and Germany, including being tattooed with a number and often having to eat grass or from bins due to the lack of food. Sam’s photographs of his family were taken from him, meaning he never saw them again. Sam described the American soldiers who liberated his camp in 1945 as ‘angels’.

Sam travelled to Prague and was later one of 1,000 Jewish children brought to the UK as part of the Windermere programme. He stayed in the UK and settled in Manchester with his wife and two daughters. Maralyn told us that it was sometimes difficult to grow up with a father who had been in a concentration camp as it affected him for the rest of his life, causing him to have nightmares and a short temper. However, Maralyn was keen to emphasise her father’s message that ‘everybody is entitled to be an individual’ and the importance of standing up to extremism in any form. Sam passed away in 2013.

This was a touching event that helped Year 9 with their current History scheme of learning on genocide. They asked Maralyn some insightful questions during the talk and reflected maturely afterwards on the importance of keeping alive the stories of people like Sam. Thank you to Maralyn and the Holocaust Educational Trust for this valuable opportunity.