Holocaust survivor to talk at Burgess Hill school

JPCT 010213  Holocaust Dorit Olive visits St Paul's Catholic College in Burgess Hill. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320130102160932
JPCT 010213 Holocaust Dorit Olive visits St Paul's Catholic College in Burgess Hill. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320130102160932

A Holocaust survivor who became an internationally-renowned singer is getting ready to speak to schoolchildren in Burgess Hill.

At nine years old, Dorit Oliver Wolff had just survived the Holocaust but was given only six months to live.

Amazingly, Dorit pulled through and has been giving talks on her experiences to schools in Mid Sussex.

She will be visiting the St Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill in February, to tell the children about her story following Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27.

“I escaped the gas chambers by the skin of my teeth and turned my life around,” she told the Middy.

But Dorit is no stranger to public speaking having visited the school before.

“If I could have my time again I would love to go to a school like this one,” she said. “I love this area.”

After visiting the school two years ago, Dorit said: “They were all lovely. One of the girls asked me: ‘Can I hug you?’ I was so moved when she asked me. She told me: ‘If you can survive all that, I can survive anything’.”

Dorit, who is 79 and lives in Eastbourne, became an internationally- renowned singer in Germany. But she said the horrors she endured as a child shaped her life but will haunt her forever.

“If life has been given to you then you don’t spend it being a victim,” she said.

“I have seen the Holocaust through the eyes of a little Jewish girl but I am not a victim, I am a survivor.

Dorit’s mother smuggled her out of a sorting camp but her father died in a slave labour camp from exhaustion and starvation. She lived in a cellar in Budapest for nine months, but by the end of the war she was so undernourished she couldn’t walk.

From seemingly impossible circumstances as a child Dorit went on to become an internationally known singer, a recording artist and a star of cabaret.

She has also written a book called Behind the Smile: From Yellow Star to Pop Star.

Dorit will be featured on BBC One’s Inside Out on January 26.

A Holocaust Survivor’s remarkable story