The Story of Sala Slater (nee Herting) 1921-2001
Sala Slater (nee Herting) was born in 1921 in Przemysl, Poland, a town where Jews had lived for hundreds of years. When she was six years old, she moved with her parents, Esther and Zalke Herting, and her two younger sisters, Rachel and Bronya, to Antwerp in Belgium. However, on her mother’s death, Sala returned to Poland to live with her grandparents. With the rise of nationalism in Poland in the mid-1930s she rejoined her family in Belgium. Sala was passionate about politics and became active in a Jewish workers’ movement. It was at this time that she met Paul Zlotogorski, who would later become her husband.
When the Germans attacked Belgium in May 1940 she fled to the south of France with Paul. In December 1940 they were married, and they made a life together working on local farms. In August 1942, when the French police began their arrest of all Jews, she was able to escape. She used her own initiative and, with the help of strangers and some luck, was finally able to cross the Alps into Switzerland, where she remained in safety till the end of the war.
In early 1945, impatient to be with Paul – who had been wounded whilst fighting with the British army in Germany – she smuggled herself out of Switzerland. She finally reached Britain in the summer of 1945 where, reunited with Paul, she made a new life in London.
Sala was reluctant to speak about her past as her focus was on the future. Nonetheless, she was always fearless about speaking up whenever or wherever she encountered injustice. This presentation will inspire all listeners to put fear to one side and act courageously on behalf of others.
Using photos and Sala’s testimony, Sala’s daughter Emily tells her story, placing it in the context of the unrolling of the Second World War in Western Europe.
Presented by Emily Cass
After studying psychology and completing a teaching qualification, Emily Cass has had a career working with children and young people in a range of settings.
This presentation is a tribute to Emily’s mother, Sala Slater. Emily’s parents were amongst the few who survived the horrors of the Shoah. As the Shoah slips into distant history and Holocaust denial becomes increasingly acceptable, Emily feels that it is more important than ever to tell of each victim’s unique experiences.
Emily believes that her mother’s story has many resonances with the experiences of refugees today. She hopes that her mother’s story will encourage all those who hear it to speak up and to act when they see injustice.
This presentation is dedicated to all the members of her family who did not survive and to all those courageous individuals who stretched out their hands to help others.
Melanie Martin presents the experiences of her mother’s family in Nazi occupied Amsterdam and in the concentration camps. Using interwoven first-hand accounts from her mother, Tootje, and her immediate family, Melanie’s presentation provides a story of bravery, endurance, loss and love supported by carefully researched historical content.
The Story of Liesl Woltär 1913-1992
By a lucky chance, Paul’s mother Liesl had the opportunity to escape from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to the UK as a 26-year-old refugee, together with her 19-year-old sister. Later she lost contact with her parents and her brother who had remained behind; nevertheless she had the courage and strength of character to carry on with her life and to work for the British war effort.
In the meantime, her parents and brother were deprived of their property and rights, then imprisoned and brutally mistreated by the Nazis, all three eventually dying as a result of the appalling conditions in the Łódź ghetto where they were held.
After the war, Liesl became aware that not only her parents and brother but also around 50 members of her extended family had perished at the hands of the Nazis. Again she had the strength and courage to carry on, to start a family and, following the early death of her husband, to bring up her two young children as a single mother.
Much of the story is told in Liesl’s own words, using scripts she wrote for talks she herself gave, voiced by her adult granddaughter. The story of the family left behind in occupied Europe is told by Paul using contemporary documents, photographs and newsreel footage.
Presented by Paul
Paul is a retired solicitor who worked in the public sector for over 40 years. His interests are music and enjoying the countryside in which he lives. He has been researching his family history for many years and his presentation is based on that research. Paul would like his mother Liesl’s story to be used to help combat racism and discrimination in our society.
The Story of Walter and Herta Kammerling
Walter Kammerling was born in Vienna in 1923. He arrived in England on the Kindertransport aged 15 and worked on a farm in Northern Ireland. After three years there, Walter moved to London where he joined a left wing refugee group, Young Austria; in 1944 he also joined the British Army. Walter married Herta Plaschkes, also a refugee from Vienna, in Salisbury in 1944. Walter’s parents and older sister died at Auschwitz.
Herta also escaped Austria on the Kindertransport, arriving in 1939, with her younger brother Otto. They were fostered in Liverpool but were separated after moving to Chester. Herta then ran away to London and also joined Young Austria where she met Walter. Herta’s parents and baby brother managed to escape to England but most of her relatives were killed in the Holocaust.
After the war Walter and Herta returned to Vienna where they lived for nine years and had two sons, returning to Bournemouth where her parents had settled, in 1956. Walter worked as a chartered engineer, was chairman of his synagogue, and enjoyed singing, both operatic and Klezmer. Because he felt ‘cheated’ out of his childhood education, he sought to catch up as much as he could and studied almost continuously including achieving a degree in Maths and Music with the Open University.
With his dedication to Holocaust Education speaking to over 10,000 children and young adults, in 2019 he was honoured in the Queen’s Birthday List with the British Empire Medal.
The presentation uses extensive video material recorded at various stages in Walter’s life and which also provides a very personal and intimate portrait of how the separation from – and ultimate loss of – his immediate family deeply affected him. A short video of Herta is also included which briefly describes the effect of the Anschluss on her and her family. The presentation also puts the events that led to the Holocaust in a historical context.
Presented by Peter Kammerling
Peter is a retired business consultant, author of books about the IT industry, creator of an e-business start-up and, with his wife, a distiller of gin. He worked mainly in the UK but also in Trinidad and in Bosnia, and was key to the introduction of digital audio transcription into the Crown Courts.
He was born and lived in Vienna; when he was nearly 9 years old his family returned to England. Peter and his wife now live in East Sussex.
Peter chaired his local Relate Marriage Guidance centre for several years and now works with a charity funding the training and placing of student nurses to villages in Cameroon.
Having seen the powerful effect that his father’s talks have had on students, Peter wants to continue the work on Holocaust Education that his father engaged in and for which he received a British Empire Medal. He incorporates his mother’s story of Holocaust survival too.
Watch excerpts from the story of Walter and Herta Kammerling
JW3 and G2G Present:
Join Steven Frank, Holocaust Survivor and members of Generation 2 Generation in conversation with Tulip Siddiq MP as we remember the November Pogrom and discuss how to continue meaningful commemoration and dedication when eye witnesses are no longer able to.
Book tickets here to attend in person or online https://www.jw3.org.uk/whats-on/kristallnacht-commemoration-2023