A Dutch film-maker who was deported to a Nazi
concentration camp during the Holocaust is to visit the University
of Wolverhampton to present an annual lecture.
Frank Diamand was arrested when he was four and sent to the
transit camp Westerbork in the Netherlands in 1943, narrowly
avoiding being sent to Auschwitz.
He was then deported to Bergen Belson in Germany before being
taken with his family in 1945 on a train towards Theresienstadt
concentration camp in what is now the Czech Republic.
Mr Diamand, who now lives in Amsterdam, will talk about his
experiences at the University’s Annual Holocaust Memorial Day
lecture on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 at 5pm.
The talk will take place in room MC001 at the Wolverhampton City
Campus and will be attended by an invited audience of school
pupils, guests and University staff and students.
Lynn Leighton-Johnstone, Associate Dean of the School of Law, Social Sciences and
Communications, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Frank
Diamand to Wolverhampton to present our annual Holocaust lecture.
Each year, our guests provide thought provoking and often harrowing
accounts of the Holocaust which serve as an important reminder that
we should never forget the lessons of history.”
The lecture will be preceded by a showing of Mr Diamand’s
documentary, When Memory Comes, at 3.30pm. The film focuses on
Jewish historian Saul Friedländer and his life-long quest to
describe the extermination of the European Jews without losing a
primary feeling of disbelief.
The lecture is part of a week of events organised by the
University to mark worldwide Holocaust Memorial Day, which takes
place each year on January 27.
Tickets are allocated on a first come, first served basis. To
book a ticket or for full details of the University’s programme of
events visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/holocaust
Frank Diamand’s father at 27 was a judge in Berlin in 1933, but
a year later he was a refugee in the Netherlands. His mother was
from a Dutch Jewish family, who had lived in Holland for centuries,
and her father was to become president of the Jewish Council which
delayed the family’s deportation and saved them from Auschwitz and
Mr Diamand, now aged 73, explains: “We were arrested in
September 1943, stayed in Westerbork for a year and then were
deported to Bergen Belsen concentration camp with the last train
that went East. In that last year of the war conditions in Bergen
Belsen got worse and worse. As Germany was losing the war prisoners
from other camps were moved there and the camp got very
overcrowded. Diseases were epidemic and people died like flies.
“In the beginning of April 1945 the Nazis sent three trains each
with some 2000 'exchange Jews' from Bergen Belsen in the direction
of Theresiënstadt. As the fronts were coming nearer from both
sides, those trains stood still more often than that they were
“My family and I were in one of them. One of the trains reached
Theresienstadt, another was liberated by the Russians at Tröbitz.
Our train was liberated by the Americans on April 13, near the
village of Farsleben in the middle of Germany. Both of my parents
Frank Diamand went on to study Mathematics and Law at Amsterdam
University. He worked as a law court journalist before completing a
course in television. He then worked for 18 years as
director/producer for VARA-television in the Netherlands, ending as
Commissioning Editor on the investigative documentary series No
Although many of his films had dealt with oppression and
resistance in present times, Frank Diamand had never made a film
about World War II or the persecution of the Jews. When in 2007
Saul Friedländer’s book Nazi-Germany and the Jews was published in
a Dutch translation and Friedländer gave a lecture at Amsterdam
University, Diamand, who had interviewed him 41 years before for a
Dutch weekly, decided to make a film.
When Memory Comes, a film about Saul Friedländer took five years
to produce and will be screened at the University of Wolverhampton
on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 at 3.30pm.
Date Issued: Wednesday, 16 January 2013
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