Holocaust survivor talks of her torture and imprisonment

Holocaust survivor Iby Knill talked 'with Natalie Cave, Bethany Walker, Lewis Thompson and Ted Mellon.( jc_240415_iby)
Holocaust survivor Iby Knill talked 'with Natalie Cave, Bethany Walker, Lewis Thompson and Ted Mellon.( jc_240415_iby)

A Holocaust survivor visited Morley Academy to speak about her experiences of the concentration camps.

Iby Knill, 91, talked to Year 10 pupils at the Fountain Street school about Auschwitz and how she came to be liberated.

The Academy’s leader of ethics, philosophy and religion Louise Wilson, said the purpose was to help pupils understand that the past must never be repeated and to learn from Iby’s incredible story.

“Iby’s talk was a humbling experience that students found thought-provoking and fascinating,” she said. “She is an inspirational lady and our students were very lucky to hear her story first hand.”

Iby was born in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1923 and lived in Bratislava.

As Nazi rule swept through Europe, Iby, who is Jewish, refused to show the yellow star she had to wear on her clothes. Her family’s business was “aryanised” – taken over by non-Jews.

In February 1942 Jewish girls in Slovakia were rounded up to be prostitutes for German soldiers at the Russian Front, none of which survived.

Iby’s mother decided she must therefore escape and she went into hiding before crossing the border to Hungary.

While helping escaped airmen with the resistance movement, Iby was caught, tortured and imprisoned for three months.

She was later arrested as an illegal immigrant and eventually taken in a cattle wagon to Auschwitz.

Realising she would die, Iby volunteered and went with a slave labour transport of five hundred Hungarian women to Lippstadt, where she was put in charge of a hospital unit.

In mid-March 1945 the hospital unit was evacuated. Iby and other victims were marched towards Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

After nights of walking, they saw American tanks in the distance and were liberated on Easter Sunday, 1945, as the German guards fled into the woods.