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Friday, 20 January 2017

Holocaust survivor who taught Essex schoolchildren about the persecution of the Jews has died

Otto Deutsch has died at the age of 88

Tributes have been paid to a Holocaust survivor who educated thousands of children across Essex about one of the worst episodes of modern history.
Otto Deutsch was originally from Vienna but came to the UK as a child in 1938 on the Kindertransport, the name given to the series of rescue efforts to save Jewish children from the clutches of the Nazis.
He settled in Southend and died aged 88 on January 4.
Moira Dare-Edwards, the Essex area representative for the Christian Friends of Israel, who lives in Brentwood, said: "I would remember him as lovely, caring man.

Moira Dare-Edwards
"He devoted himself to telling his story to school groups and to other groups up and down the country so that people would know what he and other people went though so that kind of hatred would not happen again."

Born in Vienna on July 12 1928 to Victor and Wilma Deutsch, his father was betrayed by a close family friend and neighbour and taken away during Kristallnacht in 1938, which was a night of targeted attacks against Jewish people in Nazi Germany.
To save his life, his mother queued all night to secure a place on the Kindertransport initiative; which was hastily set up in the light of the Kristallnatcht attacks.
Mrs Dare-Edwards said: "He lost his mother, father and sister. He was 10.
"His father was betrayed by a neighbour - a close neighbour - one whom he called uncle. He was forcibly taken away and Otto never saw him again.
"He got on the transport but his sister was 17 – the cut off was 16 – so his sister couldn't go.

"Obviously he couldn't understand it at his age. He thought he was going on an adventure.
"But he thought he was going to see his family again and of course he didn't.
"They were told at the station not to show any emotion.
"His mother turned her back because she didn't want him to see her tears.
"He always regretted he was not able to give her a last cuddle."
His parents and sister, Adele, were killed on May 24 1942 at the Maly Trostinec concentration camp near Minsk, Belarus.
She added: "He went out three years ago to the same spot where they were all shot – he was able to say kaddish, which is what Jewish people saw when they have lost someone.
"He pinned a photo to a tree.
"It was a burden he carried all his life
"But he was never bitter. He just wanted other people to know where hatred goes.
"He got on well with school groups, he got on well with everyone.
"I last saw him in September."
Otto last spoke to a group at Brentwood Town Hall in 2015 about his experiences and life.
His funeral took place at Stock Road cemetery, Southend-on-Sea, at 3pm on Wednesday January 11.
She added: "I had the privilege to go to his funeral. There were many people there and all had wonderful things to say about him.
"He was very highly regarded."


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