History KS3 / GCSE: Interview with Holocaust survivor Martin Kapel

Martin Kapel is a survivor of the Nazi Polenaktion (“Poland Action”) in October 1938.

He came to the UK via the Kindertransport and lived through the Blitz bombing of Coventry in 1940. Here he discusses the importance of studying history in order to learn from the patterns and incidences of the past.

Martin explains how Germany in 1933 – a most advanced society of scientists, writers, of creative arts – descended into barbarity and cruelty.

He also proffers the warning voiced by George Santayana (The Life of Reason, Vol.1, 1906) that he who does not learn from the past is doomed to repeat it.

Teacher Notes

Discuss with your class how events in history (such as the Holocaust) have shaped the way we live today.

What influences has it had on society, communities and relationships today?

How has our understanding of history changed?

Why is it important that we learn about these events in history?

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. It also appears in PSHE and PDE at KS3 and KS4.

More from Children of the Holocaust

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