Holocaust survivor to tell his story in Wellingborough

Rudi Oppenheimer at Bishop Stopford School in 2011
Rudi Oppenheimer at Bishop Stopford School in 2011

A Holocaust surivor will talk about his time at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Wellingborough tomorrow.

Rudi Oppenheimer left Berlin for Amsterdam with his family in 1936 to escape Nazi persecution.

German troops invaded Holland in 1940, and in 1943 Rudi and his family were rounded up and sent to transit camp Westerbork, before being deported to Bergen-Belsen a few months later.

Rudi was 12-years-old and along with his brother and sister he survived appalling conditions in the camp.

Both of his parents died during the family’s time at Bergen-Belsen, his father just one month before the camp was liberated.

Rudi will be at Wellingborough Museum at 10.30am on Saturday, January 25, to tell his story.

His visit has been organised to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, a national occasion which sees hundreds of events being held across the country to commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. After Rudi’s talk at the museum, the Whatabout Theatre will take to the stage at 1.30pm to perform Suitcase of Stories, a play inspired by the courage of Jewish children during the Holocaust.

On Sunday, January 26, Wellingborough mayor Graham Lawman will attend a remembrance event organised by the council.

It will take place at 1.30pm by the Anne Frank tree in Swanspool Gardens and will be followed by prayers and quiet time for personal reflection.

Tickets are needed for both Rudi’s talk and the Suitcase of Stories performance.

They are free of charge but limited, and are available in advance from the museum or by calling 01933 276838.

Cllr Peter Morrall, chairman of Wellingborough Council’s community committee, said: “It is a privilege for us to welcome Rudi to Wellingborough, and his story will be a very powerful reminder of the horrors so many people experienced.

“Holocaust Memorial Day is a chance to remember those who were persecuted and perished at the hands of the Nazis, as well as in more recent genocides.

“Hundreds of events are being held across the country, all with the one aim of motivating people to ensure that the horrendous crimes committed are never forgotten.

“By taking part in these events, our communities in Wellingborough will be reminded where hatred, racism and victimisation can ultimately lead.”