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.