Our Academy youngsters and the staff were privileged to meet Holocaust survivor Hannah Lewis at Rockliffe this week, when she shared her experiences with an emotional talk.
Hannah told her story about how her family were rounded up and forcibly taken to a labour camp in 1943, in a village called Adampol. Over time most of her family disappeared. Her father and his cousin managed to escape and joined the partisans. Only Hannah and her mother remained in Adampol.
Academy manager Craig Liddle and first team coach Curits Fleming were among the members of staff in attendance, and Hannah was presented with a personalised Boro shirt as a thank-you for sharing her story.
“It was fascinating, humbling, and emotional listening to Hannah’s story,” said Fleming.
“You cannot even begin to imagine what she experienced as a young child, and we can only thank her for taking the time to visit and share her story with us.”
Hannah’s visit was arranged in conjunction with the Holocaust Education Trust, who are working with the Premier League as part of their education initiatives.
Through the Outreach programme, the Trust arranges for Holocaust survivors to visit schools and establishments to share their powerful stories and experiences.
Karen Pollock MBE, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working with Middlesbrough Football Club to give their Academy teams the opportunity to hear from a Holocaust survivor.
"Hannah Lewis’ incredible story will hopefully be something that will always stay with them as they embark on their careers, and an educational lesson they will never forget."
Earlier this year, our U14s marked Holocaust Memorial Day. Our young players were handed Holocaust Memorial Day cards, explaining what HMD is and asking the reader to reflect on the story of Eddy Hamel who was the first Jewish player to play for Ajax, but who lost his life in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.
Our youngsters had already had a session on pre-Jewish life and a discussion around the England team being ordered to perform the Nazi salute before a game against Germany in 1938. The visit of Hannah was another key step in the learning process.