Em­merdale star’s Auschwitz agony

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY RACHEL FLETCHER

A JEWISH ac­tress’s dis­cov­ery of her fam­ily’s Holo­caust ex­pe­ri­ences and jour­ney to Auschwitz will be broad­cast this Sun­day on BBC1.

Ge­or­gia Slowe, who plays Perdy Hyde-Sin­clair in Em­merdale, vis­ited the camp with 150 sixth-for­m­ers as part of the Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tional Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz pro­gramme.

When the Nazis raided a con­vent where Jews were hid­ing, Ms Slowe’s mother, Zsuzsi, then five, was found to have been left be­hind. At Auschwitz, Ms Slowe’s grand­fa­ther first learned that his wife was dead when he dis­cov­ered her clothes.

Ms Slowe said: “My mother has al­ways been very ret­i­cent in talk­ing about her ex­pe­ri­ences. My trip was a cat­a­lyst for her to open up. I had known her story vaguely, but not in de­tail. She only found out about my grand­fa­ther about three years ago.”

Ms Slowe was ap­proached to make the film, Sun­day Life, hav­ing played Mar­got Frank (Anne’s elder sis­ter) and an­other Holo­caust vic­tim in pre­vi­ous TV dra­mas. In the film, on BBC1 on April 20 at 10am, she can be seen inside the gas cham­bers, talk­ing to sixth-for­m­ers about their re­sponses, and look­ing at the masses of hu­man hair on dis­play in the camp. Ms Slowe said: “My par­ents al­ways made sure we knew about the Holo­caust, so I didn’t feel any great need to put my­self through go­ing. Wild horses wouldn’t have dragged me there if I hadn’t been do­ing the film. It was more hor­ri­ble than I imag­ined.

“I told my­self it was only a place, derelict build­ings where ter­ri­ble things hap­pened, but when you get there it’s the worst place on Earth.”

She had night­mares for two weeks af­ter visit­ing, but re­called that the pho­to­graphs on dis­play had been es­pe­cially mem­o­rable, not­ing: “They did the de­hu­man­i­sa­tion process so well, with peo­ple starved, hor­ri­ble uni­forms, roughly shaved heads.

“You can’t tell the men from the women. They cease to look like peo­ple, like brothers, sis­ters, sons and daugh- ters. And in each photo, they are look­ing at some­thing ab­so­lutely ter­ri­fy­ing to the side of the cam­era. One can only imag­ine what it is.”

Ms Slowe praised the Lessons from Auschwitz pro­gramme as “amaz­ing”, adding: “I was so im­pressed by the kids. I don’t know if I could have han­dled it at their age.”

From Em­merdale to Auschwitz: Ge­or­gia Slowe at the ru­ins of the death camp last month. “It was more hor­ri­ble than I imag­ined,” she said

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