Keele hosts inspirational Holocaust survivor’s talk for local school pupils

Keele University was honoured to welcome Tomi Komoly, a Holocaust survivor, to its campus on Armistice Day to deliver a talk to local school pupils.

As part of a visit organised by Higher Horizons+ and the Holocaust Educational Trust, Tomi spoke to more than 100 Year 9 and 10 students from Stoke-on-Trent schools to relay his experiences of growing up in Europe during the Second World War.

The only child in a Hungarian Jewish family, Tomi shared his experiences as part of the World War Conference, which was held at Keele on Armistice Day last week.

Addressing the pupils, Tomi said: “I was very lucky. I never got taken to any of the concentration camps, but the reason I am here to talk to you is because the people who had been to the camps are even older than me.

“I think the horrors of what happened in those days need to be talked about, and I find that I am healthy and able to talk about it. So I need to go out and talk about it while I still can, as my memories of the events are very strong.

“You are here listening to me, and I am here talking to you, to try and prevent anything remotely similar from happening again.”

Higher Horizons+ works with Year 9 to Year 13 students throughout Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire.

Rebecca Lancett, National Collaborative Outreach Programme Hub Manager of Higher Horizons+ said: “We hosted a World War Conference at Keele University where students took part in educational sessions about World War I and World War II, including sessions on conscientious objectors, battlefield medicine and trench warfare.

“During this event we felt it was incredibly important for students to have the opportunity to hear first-hand from a Holocaust survivor, and we were honoured to have Tomi share his experiences during the conference, leaving students with an understanding that learning about the Holocaust is important to ensure that such atrocities are not repeated in the future.”

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust added: “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.

“Tomi’s story is one of tremendous courage during horrific circumstances and by hearing his 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.”