New audio guides for Holocaust Centre North help picture ‘what isn’t there’

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New audio guides for Holocaust Centre North help picture ‘what isn’t there’

Two artists have used the recollections of local Holocaust survivors to produce contemporary audio guides for Huddersfield site

New audio guides at the Holocaust Centre North in Huddersfield
New audio guides at the Holocaust Centre North in Huddersfield

A Holocaust centre in the north of England has launched a series of audio creations to help visitors think differently about the site’s collections – by producing “a guide to what isn’t there”.

The Holocaust Centre North (HCN) in Huddersfield said its new audio guide aimed to “bring back to life the memories of the survivors who started again” in the north of England after fleeing persecution.

They comprise a series of soundscapes and recollections that have been created by artists Louise Wilson and Linda O’Keeffe as part of the Second World War and Holocaust Partnership Project, led by Imperial War Museum and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

It features voices selected from the centre’s archives, as well as new interviews with Leeds-based survivors and their families, including Trude Silman, 93, who recalls a painting in an ornate frame that hung in her childhood home in Bratislava, then part of Czechoslovakia.

Her family concealed the picture on a farm to protect it from Nazi soldiers, who looted many works of art owned by Jewish people. A family heirloom, it was rescued after the war and now hangs in the Harrogate home of her daughter, Judith.

Elsewhere, Liesel Carter shares her memories of leaving Germany on a boat at the age of four with her favourite teddy bear, the only toy she was able to bring. It was later destroyed by cousins who said she was too old to play with soft toys.

In another, Suzanne Ripton recalls being pushed under the bed by her mother, the heavy footsteps of the Gestapo, them breaking the door down with an axe, and the smell of her grandfather’s long, white beard as she gave him a final hug.

O’Keefe said: “When you hear someone describe the smell of their grandad’s beard, knowing it was the last time they would see them, you understand more about what it would be like to look at a person you love and have to say goodbye for the last time.”

The audio guides can be heard here:

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