The Story of Margot Hodge née Pogorzelski 1920 – 2014
Margot Pogorzelski, was born in a small town in Lower Silesia, Germany. which now belongs to Poland. Margot fled to England in 1939, a few weeks before war broke out. Her two eldest brothers escaped to British controlled Palestine, later to become Israel. Their mother and two younger brothers were ‘deported to the East in 1942’ which means they were sent to a death camp and murdered.
Margot’s story is presented by her daughter Diana using family photos and voiced extracts from a brief memoir Margot wrote describing her childhood and early adult life. She describes how Margot’s idyllic childhood changed dramatically after Hitler came to power in 1933 when her now widowed mother was left with no income and five children to bring up. She tells the story of how Margot moved to Berlin to study nursing and then escaped to England aged just 19, expecting to be able to send for her mother and her two youngest brothers. After a few months as a student nurse in Leeds she was arrested and interned on the Isle of Man as an ‘enemy alien’.
Diana goes on to explore the echoes of the past that resonate today. How events from her family history are being repeated all over the world, causing the mass movement of people, displaced from all that is familiar in their homes, their countries and their continents. By telling her family story – of real people with fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who lived, loved, existed, and perished – she looks at how collective sympathy for the plight of refugees can turn to fear and prejudice in no time at all.
Diana ends her presentation with a plea for tolerance and understanding.
Presented by Diana Cook
Diana Cook has recently retired from
Her mother, Margot Hodge née Pogorzelski escaped the horrors of Nazi Germany a few weeks before war broke out. It was after Margot died in 2014 that Diana realised that her mother’s memories were now her responsibility she is now working on making sure that Margot’s story is told and retold to as wide an audience as possible with a plea for tolerance and understanding.