A MAN who spent time in a Nazi camp during the Second World War has shared his story with Wirral pupils as part of Holocaust Memorial day.

Originally from Berlin, Rudi Oppenheimer was 12-years-old when he and his family were captured and sent to Belsen camp in February 1944.

He stayed in the camp for 14 months, during which time his parents died. The camp was liberated by the Russians in April 1945.

During his moving talk at the Floral Pavilion Theatre in New Brighton on Wednesday, the 78-year-old shared his story with more than 500 pupils from schools across the borough.

Recalling his time at Belsen Rudi, who now lives in England, told the Globe: "We were always hungry, and didn't get very much food to eat. But they didn’t mistreat us or anything like that.

"We were not victimised like those who went to Auschwitz. We were allowed to wear our own clothes, and could keep our luggage, but there was no food.

"They harassed us a lot. Most days we had to stay on the parade ground for nine hours if you didn't work. We never felt fearful of the people in charge."

After the war Mr Oppenheimer returned to England, was educated at a grammar school and went on to study engineering at Imperial College in London. He later became an adviser for Shell Petroleum.

He has since given 1100 talks on his experiences in the camp to children across the country.

He continued: "I try to put the emphasis on the fact that we haven't learned our lesson from history, because genocide is still happening all over the world. People should learn the lesson, be more intolerant and speak up.

"The main reason it happened in Germany was because most people didn't speak up and were called by-standers.

"Had they spoken up then these Nazis, who were not so powerful, might not have done what they did. They got away with it."

Mr Oppenheimer spoke to GCSE and A-Level History, RE and Citizenship students, Councillors and other invited guests. Following the presentation, students from Wirral Secondary Schools made presentations on their experience of visiting Auschwitz.

There was also a short commemoration service involving pupils from Wirral schools, who read the ‘statement of commitment’ and lit candles in memory of those who died during the Holocaust.

Councillor Phil Davies, Wirral's cabinet member for children’s services and lifelong learning said: "It is vitally important that we never forget the atrocities committed during World War Two and we are grateful to people like Mr Oppenheimer for making this tragic part of history so real for all those privileged enough to hear him speak."

Back in December 2007, Globe Chief Photographer David Gennard visited the death camps of Auschwitz Birkenau with students from various schools across Wirral. Below is the three part video account of the trip and an interview with Joanna Millan, survivor of the Theresienstadt camp.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Joanna Millan Interview