Kitty Hart-Moxon The Holocaust is central to understanding the causes of the genocides that have occurred in many parts of the world since the end of the Second World War. - Kitty Hart-Moxon Kitty was born in 1926 in Bielsko Poland. She had a brother, Robert, who was 5 years older than her, and she had a happy life with her family prior to the Nazi invasion. Kitty’s family fled to Lublin after the German invasion of Poland in 1939, however the Germans soon reached Lublin and imposed strict anti-Jewish laws. Before long, all Jewish citizens had to live in the ghetto, which quickly became overcrowded and disease-ridden. Kitty sometimes was able to enter the Aryan part of the city through to sewers in order to barter for food. Her mother also used the sewers to meet with a Catholic priest, who gave her food in exchange for English lessons. However, life in the ghetto was still brutal. Kitty remembers seeing an SS guard shooting her friend on the spot for not stepping off the pavement and bowing as the guard walked past them. Kitty’s family attempted to escape the ghetto, however they were caught and returned. Their second attempt was more successful, and they reached a nearby village where the Jewish population did not live in a ghetto, although still led miserable lives. Kitty’s father was convinced that they were soon to be deported to the nearby camp of Belzec, so they fled the village. Kitty’s father turned out to be correct, and Kitty can remember watching on with horror as soldiers rounded up all the Jews in the village and loaded them into lorries, where they were sent to Belzec and killed. Kitty’s family returned to Belzec, where the Catholic priest her mother knew had secured them false papers. They decided to split up, with Kitty’s father going to Tarnow to work at a Sawmill, whilst Kitty and her mother travelled with non-Jewish Poles to work in Bitterfeld, Germany at a munitions factory. Kitty’s father would not survive the Holocaust. Kitty was able to work in the office thanks to her fluency in German, however this was not to last. Kitty and her mother were betrayed, and in March 1943 they were charged and sentenced to death. However, on the day of their execution the firing squad fired into the air – it was a mock execution to show what would happen if they did not comply. Instead, they were sentenced to hard labour at Auschwitz. Kitty and her mother arrived in Auschwitz shortly after, where they were put to work; Kitty’s mother in the hospital compound, and Kitty doing hard manual labour. After a short while, Kitty came down with typhus, which was usually a death sentence as there was no treatment provided. However, Kitty’s mother was able to take care of her, and hide her from the daily gas chamber selections. Eventually Kitty recovered and was transferred to a new job in Kanada, this was the warehouse that contained all of the possessions of those who arrived in Auschwitz. This job meant that Kitty was to bear witness to the many thousands of people who arrived each day and were murdered in the gas chambers. She found it almost impossible to comprehend what was happening, despite being able to hear the screams of the victims. As the Russian army got closer, Auschwitz was evacuated and Kitty and her mother were loaded onto cattle trucks. They were sent to work in an electronics factory for a short while, before being evacuated once again. All the women in the factory and the surrounding area were forced to march through the mountains, on what became known as a Death March. They were forced to march barefoot through snow, and slept on the ground with no cover. They were occasionally able to scavenge for food whilst the guards were asleep, however if anyone lagged behind they would be shot by the guards. Many women did not survive the ordeal. They eventually reached their destination – another electronics factory – however this was short lived, and they were evacuated again to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, packed inside cattle carts. However, there was no room at Bergen-Belsen, so many of the carts filled with Jews were simply left. As the carts were airtight, the people inside died from suffocation. Kitty and her mother only survived after Kitty managed to create a small hole in the bottom of the cart, which her and her mother took turns to breathe through. Their cart was eventually opened by German soldiers, who sent them to another nearby camp. It was here where the Americans saved Kitty from certain death by liberating the camp. They were transported to British territory, however it was a year and a half before they were allowed to go to Britain and meet Kitty’s uncle there. Kitty found upon arrival that no one in Britain wished to hear of her ordeal, and some were even hostile towards her. It was 40 years later when people finally realised the importance of listening to and learning from survivors. As well as being a friend and supporter of the National Holocaust Centre and Museum for many decades, Kitty has devoted much of her life to telling her story, tirelessly striving to educate people so that they might learn from the past and oppose hatred in the future. Her contributions to the centre have been greatly appreciated and will continue to provide resonance with audiences for years to come. The Collection The museum houses items donated by Kitty. It is our privilege to care for these artefacts and ensure they are available for future generations. The museum's collection provides vital, tangible, evidence of the Holocaust. We are committed to ensuring we have everything we need to continue to tell our speaker's stories into the future.