History GCSE: Ivor Perl returns to Auschwitz with his daughter

Ivor Perl survived Auschwitz-Birkenau as a 12 year old boy. His entire family were deported there. Of his mother, father and eight siblings, only he and his brother Alec survived.

Ivor is returning to Auschwitz with his daughter Judy. It will be the first time that Judy has been to the camp. Growing up, Judy describes the challenge of having a parent who was a survivor and the impact it had on her.

She has asked Ivor to return to Auschwitz in the hope that it can help him, and therefore her, come to terms with the past.

Upon arrival Judy is horrified by Birkenau and what her father went through. She wants him to grieve, for his family and what he endured, so that he can heal and so that she and her siblings can process their own inherited trauma. But Ivor explains that this is too much to ask and that he has his own way of dealing with the pain of the past.

As well as Auschwitz, Ivor survived Allach and Dachau concentration camps.

This clip is from the BBC series, The Last Survivors.

Due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, we strongly advise teacher viewing before watching with your students.

Teacher Notes

Should sites like Auschwitz remain open to the public? Are tours of these sites a good thing?

Can you sympathise with Judy’s perspective? Are you surprised by the impact that the Holocaust continues to have on the second generation? Discuss what that impact might be.

Do you expect survivors to be emotional?

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching history at GCSE and above in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 and above in Scotland.

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