THEY have survived terrible horrors in their lives.
And now victims of oppression from around the world are visiting schools across Kirklees to share their stories.
Iby Knill, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and Patrice Dlamini, who escaped violent oppression in Zimbabwe, spoke to students at Spen Valley Sports College and the Community Science College at Thornhill.
They also visited the North Huddersfield Trust School in Fartown, where they were joined by Liesel Carter, who escaped from Nazi Germany alone in 1939, aged just four.
The three survivors told how they escaped and individually found their way to England, where they all eventually settled in Kirklees andsurrounding areas.
Iby told the students how her teenage brother escaped the war by hiding in the lift shaft of the Swedish embassy.
She chronicled her story in a book, The Woman Without A Number, at Philip Howard Books. It tells of her early childhood in Czechoslovakia and of how her parents – alarmed at the persecution of Jews in Germany – smuggled her over the border to Hungary.
But she was caught by the security police, imprisoned and tortured, not only as a result of her Jewish connections, but for having entered Hungary illegally and for aiding the resistance movement.
Eventually, Iby was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In June 1944, she left the camp by volunteering to travel as a nurse with a slave labour transport of 500 women.
Once transported to Lippstadt she was put in charge of a hospital unit and risked her life protecting the weak and helpless from the gas chambers.
Patrice spoke about his more recent journey from Zimbabwe.
He travelled through several African countries to escape the violence in his home country, eventually making it to England where Kirklees resident Neil West gave him and his children a home until they were able to provide for themselves.
Liesel’s story involved her travelling through Europe as an unaccompanied child.
She was taken in by a Norwegian family and settled in Leeds the following year, still aged only five.
The talks were part of the build up to Holocaust Memorial Day, which takes place across the country on Friday, January 27.
Clr Jean Calvert, Kirklees Council cabinet member for health, well-being and communities said: “The theme of these special presentations was Speak Up, Speak Out.
“This is the national theme for the Holocaust Memorial Day events taking place across the country in January 2012.
“It considers the dangers in both choosing to speak up and not speaking out and asks us all to speak up against injustice and hatred today.”