The Children of the Holocaust

 

"One and a half million innocent children were killed during the Holocaust.  Why should innocent people, just because they were Jewish, be killed for no reason at all? .... I don't know who survived and who didn't.   I only know that I survived."

(Trude Silman, Holocaust Survivor)

The remarkable stories of six eyewitnesses to Nazi atrocities during World War II have been brought to life for a young audience through animation. West Yorkshire-based company Fettle Animation has worked in collaboration with the Holocaust Survivors' Friendship Association to produce Children of the Holocaust for BBC Learning Zone.

Nazi ideology advocated killing children from "unwanted" groups such as Jews, gypsies and children with disabilities.  Children starved in ghettos, were sent to concentration camps and were the subjects of medical experiments.  However, some children managed to escape, many having to be separated from their families who were murdered by the Nazis.

In this compilation of short animated films, elderly survivors tell the stories of what happened to them as children.  They also describe the impact of these experiences on their later lives in short follow-on interviews to camera.

The interviews and testimonies from members of the HSFA have created a soundtrack for unique animations that will preserve their stories for future generations. 

Fettle's Animation Director Zane Whittingham has strong graphic sensibilities and has created animations to retell these stories based on artwork and photography of the period.

"Animation is the perfect medium to bring these stories alive for a young audience, who can find it difficult to imagine what previous generations must have been through during this dark time in history.  Animated images weave together memory and historical fact in a way which can really help young people to understand how people must have felt faced with such difficult situations."

The Holocaust Survivors' Friendship Association aims to preserve the memory, testimony and records of holocaust survivors as a resource for teaching and learning, to counter prejudice and anti-Semitism and to encourage a more tolerant society where difference and diversity are celebrated.

Chair of the HSFA, Lilian Black, said:

"Our members have really enjoyed being involved in creating these animations.  Their families have been really moved by the way that their testimonies have been brought to life, and everyone is excited to be bringing their stories to a wider audience."

Original music has been composed by Paul Honey from the Composer Works, based in MediaCityUK, Salford to complement the words and imagery.

For BBC Learning Zone, this is an opportunity to provide an invaluable resource for UK schools, which are required by the National Curriculum to teach Holocaust Education at Key Stage 3 History, and it is also touched upon in English, Religious Studies and Citizenship.

The programme will be broadcast at 4am as part of BBC2's Learning Zone on the 12th September 2014 and on BBC I-Player until 18th September 2014.

Children of the Holocaust is also available online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01zx5g7