To this date, it remains impossible not to think about the shameful existence of Nazi concentration camps during WWII and the millions of innocent lives they destroyed. That said, it’s important that we remember the victims, as well as those who miraculously managed to escape such a hellish experience.
One man who survived three Nazi concentration camps was Freddie Knoller (pictured second from the left). Now 96, Knoller recently shared his remarkable story with Prince William.
During William’s visit to London’s Imperial War Museum, Knoller explained that he managed to make it out of Auschwitz in 1945 by replacing the yellow star that Jewish prisoners were forced to wear by the Nazis, with the badge from the uniform of a deceased French prisoner.
By doing this, Knoller was transferred out of Auschwitz to Mittelbau-Dora, where he took part in slave labour. Eventually, Knoller ended up in Bergen-Belsen, a camp that was liberated by the British.
“Catherine and I were in Poland earlier this year, [and] we had a very eye-opening tour around Stutthof camp,” said William during the meeting. “It was very sobering.”
The aforementioned badge that Knoller used to save his life is now on display at the museum. William is President of the Imperial War Museum and is overseeing its multi-million dollar renovation project.
“I showed [William] my striped uniform. This saved my life because it doesn’t show the number of a Jew, but of a French political prisoner,” recalled Knoller. “When I put it on, they thought I was a French political prisoner.”
He continued: “I don’t want the world to forget that six million Jews were murdered by Nazis. This is why I tell the story. I showed [William] my patch. He was amazed, actually.”
VisionTV’s Human Rights series is a compendium of hard-hitting, shocking, enlightening and ultimately hopeful documentaries exploring and shedding light on the dark corners of religion and ethnicity-based hatred and violence. Visit VisionTV.ca/human-rights for more information.
Also, join us on Friday, November 10 (10:30pm ET/7:30pm PT) for “Leo Spellman’s Rhapsody: In Concert,” a program that depicts the first Canadian performance of “Rhapsody 1939-1945,” a musical reflection of the composer’s harrowing experience of surviving the Holocaust.