Two Holocaust survivors gave their time to 500 students as they recalled the horrors and hardship of World War Two.

Manfred Goldberg and Peter Lantos gave students from across Watford, Hemel Hempstead, and Northwood, a flavour of their remarkable but harrowing stories.

Speaking at a Holocaust Memorial Day event at Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue, Professor Lantos told 100 pupils from St Helen’s School about the misery he endured at Bergen Balsen concentration camp, when he was aged just five.

Talking with honesty and wry humour, he recalled the constant hunger and freezing weather.

Epidemics of typhus, tuberculosis, dysentery and typhoid – which claimed the life of Peter’s older brother - broke out. While Peter’s mother miraculously survived the war, he lost his father to starvation in the camp.

But, despite his unimaginable experiences, Peter says, “I don’t think I carry a psychological burden. I was a child and, as an adult, didn’t allow any hatred to grow. But I don’t blame those who did.”

Prof. Lantos eventually arrived in London with a small suitcase, a few pounds and a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship in October 1968. He forged a distinguished career in academic medicine spanning some 34 years, during which he has contributed to the understanding of diseases of the nervous system.

Harrow Times:

Peter Lantos is greeted by Laura Marks, chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

At Watford Synagogue, Mr Goldberg, who was aged nine when war broke out, survived Riga Ghetto and Stuthoff concentration camp in Poland, which he described as “three-and-a-half years of hell”

For many years Mr Goldberg could not bring himself to speak of his wartime experiences but, with the rise of Holocaust deniers and antisemitism, he became convinced of the need for survivors to speak out to ensure that the younger generation knows what really happened.

Students from Watford Boys’ Grammar and Kings Langley School as well as those studying health and social care at West Herts College in Watford were among 400 to be invited to hear the holocaust survivor speak.