Avram and Vera Schaufeld Avram and Vera have been married for 62 years. They are both survivors of the Holocaust. This photograph was taken in their living room. Avram was a teenager when the war started, and was imprisoned in several concentration camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau, before being liberated. Vera came to England on the Kindertransport programme. All of her family were murdered. Avram and Vera met on a kibbutz in Israel after the war and fell in love. Avram is holding a photograph of his mother’s family taken in 1913. All except one uncle were killed during World War Two. Vera is holding two photographs. One shows her, aged nine, in the Netherlands, where she was met by family friends and put on a boat to England. She does not remember this journey. The other is a photograph sent to England from Prague, of her parents and grandmother. It says in Czech ‘to our darling’. It is the last photograph taken of Vera’s family before they were killed.
Joan salter Joan was called Fanny Zimetbaum when she was born to Polish-Jewish parents in Belgium in 1940. Aged 3, she was rescued from persecution by the Red Cross and taken to America. She has no memory of her life before America. ‘When I went to America, I was fostered. My name was changed, my language was changed, my identity was changed. I became an American little girl. And then one day, when I was seven-and-a-half I was told I didn’t actually belong to that family. I was put on a plane, and taken by two people who, as far as I was concerned, were complete strangers.’ For a long time, Joan rejected her old identity as a European child, and didn’t want to be part of the horror of what her parents had been through. But as an adult she decided to reclaim who she really was. She travelled to the Red Cross in Portugal, and searched through boxes of photographs, before finding this picture she is holding, which shows herself, her sister, and the group she travelled to America with, just before boarding the ship. ‘In a way looking at this photo is like looking at something that belongs to somebody else. But when I found it, in the early 1980s, it was the beginning of my journey to reclaim who I was.’
Sokphal din Sokphal is a survivor of the Genocide in Cambodia. This photograph was taken in his garden. Sokphal was the eldest child in his family, and stayed with his mother and siblings during the Genocide. His father was taken away by the Khmer Rouge. They said he would be back in three months, and they never saw him again. Sokphal took on the role of looking after the family. Most of his family survived the Genocide, escaping to refugee camps where they lived for seven years before finally being able to move to England in 1987. Sokphal holds a photograph of his mother, taken in a refugee camp on the border of Thailand. ‘I miss my mother a lot, she was my best friend. We went through a lot of terrible times together during the Genocide. My mother kept herself strong and alive, because she hoped to find her husband again, and also for her children. My duty as the oldest child was to look after my mother.’
Eric Eugene Murangwa Eric is a survivor of the Genocide in Rwanda. This photograph was taken on the roof terrace of his block of flats. Eric was a professional footballer in Rwanda when the Genocide began. He was looked after by his teammates and some fans of the team, and he and his family managed to escape to England. Eric is holding a football to symbolise the importance of sport to his life. ‘I had always looked at football as a tool for fun, but after 1994 I came to see sport as a way of bringing people together, educating people, changing people’s behaviour and perception. So that’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple of years, ever since I started the charity Football for Hope Peace and Unity.’
Safet Vukalić Safet is a survivor of the Bosnian War. This photograph is taken in his living room. Safet was 16 when Muslim men and boys began being taken away to concentration camps. He remembers his father and brother being ordered out of the house, and his mother stopped him from going with them. He came to England with his mother, and later his father and brother joined them. Safet is holding a school photograph, taken in 1982 when he was six years old, before the war started. ‘It was a really mixed group in terms of religion. We were kids and we didn’t think of religion at all. I have chosen this [photograph] because it shows how things were before, and it just reminds me. It would be nice to be able to go back to how it used to be. It can be done, I’m 100% certain. We have no problems between ourselves, it’s the politicians making these problems, and that’s the most frustrating thing.’