Surviving the Holocaust

An Educational Presentation for Schools

Zahava Kohn (Kanarek) | Hephzibah Rudofsky (Kohn)

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After graduating from the London School of Economics in 1986, Hephzibah pursued a career in medical research.

She moved to Zurich in the early 1990s, where she worked for a Swiss laboratory, initially on clinical trials and then as business development manager, a role she continued after her return to the UK a few years later.

In 2006 she entered the world of Holocaust education full time. She first took up the position of Schools Tour Director, and arranged for an innovative theatre production about the Holocaust to visit hundreds of schools in and around London. Building on the great reception that greeted this production, she formulated an educational component to teach the Holocaust to schoolchildren in a vivid and practical way.

Since 2009, Hephzibah’s passion for teaching the younger generation about the lessons of the Holocaust have taken her much closer to home. In collaboration with her mother, Hephzibah curated and developed an interactive educational programme entitled ‘Surviving the Holocaust’ (www.survivingtheholocaust.co.uk) that is designed and aimed at secondary school pupils. She has been working with her mother, Zahava Kohn, to tell the story of her family’s survival in Westerbork and Bergen Belsen concentration camps to schoolchildren, providing them with the important opportunity to learn about this pivotal time in history from first-hand testimony. Hephzibah and Zahava have spoken to tens of thousands of pupils in schools all over the UK and also in Germany – pupils from all backgrounds and creeds.

There is an added dimensions to these presentations in the sense of it being a first and second generation, mother and daughter partnership and also because of the extraordinary documentation which is displayed during the presentations.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. In the words of a pupil:

“You read about this in history text books, internet resources, books, but to hear a story of a personal account from their own recollection is an amazing opportunity. This feels like it is a part of a moment in history. Uplifting and inspiring.”

Hephzibah regularly contributes to education sessions at London’s Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire. Aside from her own schools programme, she also participates in the charity ‘Speakers for Schools’.

In April 2015, Hephzibah was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

In September 2015, Hephzibah was awarded the ‘Freedom of the City of London’ for her work in Holocaust education.

“Excellent in every respect. A very personal immersing experience, a chance to ask questions, connect with the Holocaust, make it individual, alive and therefore understand.” - Anglo European School