The Holocaust

Two unlikely friends, one simple message

What happened during the Holocaust is still a shocking story, and the pain and grief that it caused is still very real today. The Holocaust is now part of every child’s formal education in England, by law, and it’s widely taught in the rest of the UK. But there’s nothing like hearing about it directly from those affected.

Audiences have been  gripped to hear the grandson of an SS officer speak about his grandfather’s role in the Holocaust; it’s challenging stuff to hear and few people are telling the story from quite my point of view.

When I gave a talk (in a synagogue) about my difficult family story I was thrilled when a lady from the audience suggested that we speak together. Dr Noemie Lopian is the daughter of two Holocaust survivors, and she is a passionate educator of the lessons the Holocaust can teach us. Despite the horror of what had happened to her family, she had the vision to see that a combination with the descendant of a perpetrator could really work. And she was so right.

Ever since she and I joined up for the first ‘Building bridges’ talk, we have spoken at schools, universities, synagogues and public events, and more. The response to this apparently unique partnership has been overwhelming and so many people have told us that it’s really moved them and challenged their thinking.

It’s a simple message. What if people would just show a little kindness and tolerance to each other, whatever their background? ‘Simple’ isn’t necessarily easy, but reaching out to someone who is different to you can be so very rewarding. After all, Sarah and I have made a very good friend in Noemie, and in her family too. It feels good to us all.

The talks we give are based on Noemie’s father’s book about his ordeal in The Long Night and my book A Nazi in the family and equally important, our own experiences.

Our talk works best face to face, but the Covid pandemic has shifted our performance online too. And one benefit is that we can Zoom to audiences all over the world. We are willing to speak anywhere! Do get in touch if you’d like us to talk with your group. See our flyer for more information.