PRISON inmates were given hope by a Holocaust survivor.
Trude Silman spoke to offenders at New Hall Prison, Flockton, as part of the touring Anne Frank exhibition.
She spoke about life as a Jew during the Second World War and her continuing search for her mother, who is thought to have been killed by the Nazis.
Mrs Silman’s talk was the first of a series of events for prisoners at New Hall.
Prison bosses said they hoped her talk would encourage offenders to see that there is hope for a better future.
Mrs Silman and her brother and sister moved to Britain in 1939 to escape persecution which led to the death of their parents.
They were among 10,000 unaccompanied children allowed into the UK by the British Government.
Mrs Silman talked about the concentration camps and the number of people who were murdered in them.
Mrs Silman said: “I remember, on my last day at school, seeing a line of Nazi tanks coming towards us along the top road in the distance.
“Our teacher said to us: ‘Go and get your coats and go home quietly’. “That was my last day at that school.
“Some 6m Jewish people were killed and 1½ of them were children. Anne Frank was one of them.
“We Jews were targeted simply because we were Jewish. We weren’t doing any harm, so why did it happen?
“I was one of the lucky ones because I got out, I survived.”
Mrs Silman spoke about Anne Frank and how she had helped to inspire many people throughout the world.
The Diary of Anne Frank is the world’s second-highest selling book.
Mrs Silman added: “The one thing that is most remarkable about Anne Frank’s diary is her optimism, always hoping for the best.
“That is what we want for other people.
“This is a very important exhibition because of its aims. We want to highlight and get rid of bullying, racism, anti-semitism, terrorism and genocide.
“It was the most horrendous atrocity of all time and should not be forgotten.”
Prisoners and staff will be able to view the exhibition and participate in workshops about the Holocaust.
New Hall governor, Gareth Sands, said: “I’ve been so impressed with the event and the impact it has had on staff and prisoners in other prisons.
“The message that Trude spoke about, despite the awful things she has been through, is one of hope.
“She believes that hope, through education, tolerance and understanding, can really make a difference. That is what we believe as a prison.
“One of the most important things I see from having a Holocaust survivor allowed to speak in prison is the fact that people can go through traumatic events but they can rebuild their lives, as Trude has done.”