Holocaust history lesson for Denton pupils
Monday 29th May 2017 @ 09:21 by Tom Greggan
Denton & Audenshaw News

Year 9 pupils at Denton Community College were given a first-hand account of how one woman and her sister escaped the horrors of the holocaust last week.

Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines and her sister Eva were two of the 669 children saved from the Nazis by Sir Nicholas Winton MBE on the eve of the Second World War.

They were put on a train in Prague by their father on March 14, 1939, the day before Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. Lady Milena was just ten years old at the time.

She and her sister were cared for by a family in Ashton for a year before they were reunited with her mother, who had escaped their homeland via Norway.

In 1988, she was reunited with the man who had saved her family, Sir Nicholas Winton, on a famous and touching episode of That’s Life with Esther Rantzen.

Liam Spencer, lead teacher of religious studies at Denton Community College, was delighted to welcome Lady Milena to the school.

He said: “Year 9 study the holocaust as part of their religious studies course. We really want them to get a personal understanding of the troubles someone may have experienced so that’s why it’s a good opportunity to meet somebody like Milena and hear their genuine story. It’s more than just facts and figures on paper; it adds a real human element to it.”

Milena now lives in Preston, the birthplace of her late husband, Sir George Grenfell-Baines OBE, but returned to Ashton in 2015, where she met Civic Mayor Dawson Lane at the Museum of the Manchester Regiment at Ashton Town Hall.

On Monday, she was in Denton, regaling her extraordinary tale to a captured audience of 13-14-year- olds. She is a common speaker at schools, women’s institutes and rotary clubs and after addressing Year 9, she explained why she’s keen to spread her story.

“We feel that people ought to know what had happened all those years ago and what is happening now; it’s not very different from what happened then,” she said. “The idea is that some of us who had gone through this talk to the younger generation to make them aware that there are still children out there who desperately need to be saved.

“The two mantras; one of them is ‘do not stand by’ and I think that says it all.”


Main picture:

EXTRAORDINARY: Lady Milena told pupils how she and her sister escaped the horrors of the holocaust