‘I moved to St Albans ten years ago. I love living here and have met some wonderful people in the community. I work as a bursar for the College of Osteopaths. My mother and aunt survived the Second World War due to the compassion shown to them by non-Jews. Their wartime experiences and suffering had a profound effect on their lives.’
‘This is a photo of my mother, Irena Aftergut. Her family were farmers in Przedecz, Poland. Her life was saved by her friend Salka’s parents, who risked their lives to help her when the Germans rounded up all the Jews in the town during the Second World War. My mother said little about her experiences; it was understood that we shouldn’t ask questions. She never returned to Poland.’
‘My mother sent parcels to Salka’s family several times a year. My sister received this letter from Salka’s daughter, Wanda, in 2017. Wanda writes: “I am proud of my family that they chose to help your mother. After the war, life was very hard in Poland. Your mother did not forget us and I remember her sending me many clothes, including a bridesmaid’s dress.” Eventually my mother was able to recover her home and farmstead through the Polish Courts and my siblings and I gifted it to Salka’s family; we believe this was our mother’s wish.'
‘This is my aunt, Berta Aftergut Schonherz. She was born in February 1916 in Wadowizc, Poland, and moved to Krakow as a teenager with her family before the Second World War. The family owned a bakery on the outskirts of Stradom, one of three Jewish areas in Krakow. She was studying law when war broke out.’
‘My aunt, Berta Aftergut Schonherz, known as Tusia, was 'won' by German industrialist Oskar Schindler in a game of blackjack against Nazi officer and SS commandant Amon Goeth. Her name appears at the top of this page of Schindler’s List, the list of 1,110 Polish Jews that he saved during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. Berta survived the war, including time spent in Auschwitz extermination camp. She had no children of her own, partly because of the harrowing experiences she had endured.’
'Spotlight' talk at the exhibition.
11th May 2022. Linda Alman and her sister Evelyn Gold talk about their mother and their aunt.
Part 3 contains fascinating comments about Oscar Schindler.