History KS3 / GCSE: Trude’s Story - Escaping from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia

Trude Silman describes her experience as a young Jewish girl living in Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia, and escaping to Britain in 1939.

When her home town of Bratislava was invaded by the Nazis, Trude describes the changing atmosphere in the town and the impact it had on her life, family and community.

News of the invasion came through the radio immediately, and her parents decided that she should be sent to England. Trude’s transition to life in Britain was uncomfortable, especially due to her grasp and knowledge of the English language, which made her feel just as isolated as she was back in Bratislava.

72 years later, she continues to build on evidence relating to her parents’ death: her father ended up in Auschwitz, and her mother (more than likely) at the concentration camp of Sered.

PLEASE NOTE: This short film contains disturbing scenes. Teacher review is recommended prior to use in class.

Teacher Notes

Discuss with your class the experience of Trude in her home town and when she came to England. How do pupils think the children felt?

What items would they have bought over with them? How were the children selected?

This could then be extended to discuss and research the organisations that are designed to help children today.

What happens to unaccompanied children that come to Britain today?

Curriculum Notes

This topic appears in history at KS3 and KS4 / GCSE in AQA, OCR A, OCR B, EDEXCEL, EDUQAS and WJEC GCSE in England and Wales,and CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland.

It is also on the curriculum for 2nd, 3rd and 4th Level, National 4 and 5, and Higher in Scotland.

More from Children of the Holocaust

Interview with Holocaust survivor Trude Silman
Arek’s Story - Survival in Auschwitz-Birkena
Interview with Holocaust survivor Arek Hersh
Heinz’s Story - Kristallnacht and escape to Britain
Interview with Holocaust survivor Heinz Skyte
Martin's Story - Interrupted childhood experiences of a young Holocaust survivor
Interview with Holocaust survivor Martin Kapel
Ruth's Story - Escaping the Nazis as war began
Interview with Holocaust survivor Ruth Rogoff
Suzanne’s Story - Hiding from the Nazis in occupied France
Interview with Holocaust survivor Suzanne Ripton