Holocaust survivor speaks with Wardle Academy students

Date published: 26 January 2021

Students at Wardle Academy recently heard the testimony of Holocaust survivor Tomi Komoly in a special online session.

Tomi, 84, spoke to year 9, 10 and 11 students on 14 January about his childhood, the loss of his father and the stress and hardship his mother faced throughout the period that his homeland of Hungary was occupied by the Nazis.

Tomi was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1936 and when Hungary came under the control of the German Army in 1944, Tomi’s life was changed dramatically. His father was forced to sell his business and forced to join a labour unit of the Hungarian Army. Tomi never saw his father again after 1944. 

Tomi came to Britain as a refugee in 1956 and told his inspiring story to provide the students with a personal connection to an incredibly poignant moment in history.

The live testimony, which saw over 500 students participating, also allowed for the opportunity to ask Tomi questions and the time to reflect on the themes of human rights, what it means to be human, the value of education, and the importance of respect and tolerance.

One student in year 10 commented: “I found the testimony very interesting. I have never experienced an event where the topic discussed was so emotive and found myself empathising with Tomi.

“Tomi’s words left me picturing the hardship that he faced and the stress and strain brought on his family. The experience has left me wanting to learn more about this period of history and has had an impact on my understanding of human rights.

“I feel it a real privilege to have had the opportunity to meet Tomi.”

Tomi was awarded a British Empire Medal last year in recognition of his services to Holocaust education and awareness - giving talks to students since 2016 as a volunteer with the Holocaust Educational Trust.

A representative for the school said: “This session was a key part of students' personal development, and an integral part of the ‘Wardle Way’, appreciating diversity and respect for others.”

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