[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 13 January 2005, 16:39 GMT
'Harry should listen to my story'
By Claire Heald
BBC News

Susan Pollack
Susan will be at a commemoration service with the Queen in two weeks
Prince Harry, in the midst of a row over wearing Nazi fancy dress, should join other young people to hear about what happened in the Holocaust, Auschwitz survivor Susan Pollack says.

Young people generally show good awareness of what happened, she says, and she invited the prince to join one of her talks about her experiences which she gives to school groups, students and Holocaust centre visitors.

"I'd like him to come and listen to me once. I would welcome him to participate in one of the talks," says Mrs Pollack, 74.

Harry's choice to wear a Nazi outfit to a fancy-dress party is, she says, no laughing matter. "You can't laugh. There's nothing to joke about," she says. "I wish there was."

"He is 20. My gosh, students of 14 know about it. I am absolutely aghast.

"Ignorance is no longer acceptable about the Nazis. If [people] don't know what Nazis have done, they should drop their heads and look down at the ground."

Family's fate

In 1943, when she was 13, Mrs Pollack and her family were rounded up in their village of Felsogod, Hungary. As far as she knows, her father was killed by the fascists.

Her mother was gassed when they arrived at Auschwitz in May 1944.

Her elder brother Laszlo survived, despite his ordeal on slave labour duty - he moved bodies "from the gas chambers to the oven".

He never recovered later in life from what he had experienced in that time.

I'm a grandmother, and she is a grandmother. I don't like to upset her
Susan Pollack on meeting the Queen

Susan also survived Auschwitz, selection at the hands of Doctor Josef Mengele, slave labour, and a death march to Belsen before liberation.

She has been married to Abraham, also a Holocaust survivor, for more than 50 years and they have three daughters.

She has given the talks for the past 15 years, she says, "because I was there, I speak for those who can't, who died".

"We are not going to be around very long so I've got to say what I can."

Her testimony, she says, tells people the dangers of a "dark and evil side of humanity" and the need to live in a free, equal society with human rights.

And despite palace whispers that the Nazi costume was a young man's mistake, Susan says young people have a good understanding of the holocaust.

"Learning about it in school lends it validity and legitimacy," she says. "It's absolutely vital."

Return to Belsen

On the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz's liberation on 27 January, she will take part in commemoration services in London with other Holocaust survivors. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be there.

Susan will, she says, proudly hold a commemorative candle lit in Belsen, where she returned earlier this year.

"I was very happy that I did go back," she says. "Why? Because in my own mind, on the landscape I was still seeing mountains of corpses as they were.

"But I saw a large area of mass graves, serene and quiet and kept. That visual input has given me a little bit more peace.

"And I saw a lot of German families visiting there, so it's a changed world to some extent."

As to whether, on the day, she will raise with the Queen her grandson's ill-chosen outfit?

"I'm a grandmother, and she is a grandmother. I don't like to upset her. If one doesn't know, it's not going to help by me telling her. If you have ears but you don't hear, eyes but you don't see..."

"She will know."


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific