The devastating story of how more than six million Jewish people were murdered during The Holocaust was told to students by an Austrian survivor.
Marc Schatzberger, who fled Austria as a child during the outbreak of World War Two, gave a chilling account of life under Nazi rule in a packed theatre at Wakefield College.
The talk last Friday in front of public services, law and politics students at the college’s Waterton Building was organised to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Marc’s parents were Jewish and for his safety sent him to England as a teenager after Adolf Hitler annexed Germany with Austria in 1938.
They were later murdered along with more than a million people at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.
Marc, who was born in Vienna in 1926, said: “I was in year eight and I still remember the day the Germans marched in to Austria in tanks and Mercedes cars.
“It was an event absolutely enjoyed by a large proportion of Austrians, who were in the street shouting ‘Hurray!’ That was a big disappointment for us to see. It was emotionally damaging because we knew what Hitler had done to Jews in Germany.”
He told students about similarities between the annexation and Russia’s illegal invasion of the Crimea, Ukraine, in 2014.
On the evening of November 9, 1938 Germans rioted against Jewish businesses and shops in Austria and so much glass was smashed it became known as Kristallnacht, or Crystal Night.
Marc said: “After that night the way Jews were discriminated against doubled and tripled.
“They had to wear a yellow Star of David and were ordered to clean pavements outside homes with toothbrushes. Stuff of this nature was devastating and many Jewish people committed suicide.”
Students were also shown pictures and a board game that families were encouraged to play, where the aim was “to catch a Jew”.
After escaping Austria with his family’s help, Marc lived in England and completed an engineering degree before marrying and having children.