"There must be a way of teaching human history in a human sense.”

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Holocaust survivor and dear friend, Ruth David.

Born Ruth Oppenheimer in March 1929, Ruth grew up in Fränkisch-Crumbach in Germany in a bustling household with many siblings. Anti-Jewish persecution escalated as the Nazis took hold of Germany. Ruth’s parents sought refuge for all their children which resulted in Ruth coming to England on the Kindertransport in 1939. Her parents were murdered by the Nazi regime.

Ruth was always a comforting constant here at the Centre with her spirited, thoughtful and intelligent nature. She shared her testimony with thousands of visitors who came to hear her talk, and would always invite them to work with her to relate her story to contemporary issues today.

She made friends with all that she met. Ruth drew you in with her infectious laugh, her delightful conversational prose and the kindness that exuded from her.

One such example was with Barbara Wyatt who knew Ruth as her French teacher 55 years ago. Barbara has sent us the essay she wrote about Ruth for the Toronto Globe and Mail Newspaper. These are eloquent words that pay much deserved respect to Ruth. Read the full essay.

We shall miss her greatly.

We will continue to honour Ruth by ensuring her story is remembered and held up as an example for future generations to learn from. Indeed, her advocacy for good Holocaust education was rewarded with The Cross Of The Order Of Merit, one of the highest honours in her country of birth, Germany. During a round table discussion with other survivors of the Holocaust here at the National Holocaust Centre & Museum, she spoke eloquently about the way Holocaust education must be taught. Her legacy is that she was the very embodiment of the philosophy she described:

There must be a way of teaching human history in a human sense."

You can watch what Ruth said in full below:

Ruth David. Author, teacher and survivor of the Holocaust. 17.3.1929 - 6.4.2020.

The Centre is honoured to hold Ruth’s beautiful photographic collection recording her and family’s story.