To mark Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27), a St Albans school welcomed the daughter of a Holocaust survivor to speak to students. 

On Tuesday, January 30, Maralyn Turgel paid a visit to Marlborough Science Academy to talk to Year 10 students about her father's experiences during WWII.

Maralyn retold father Sam Gardner's story to a captivated audience, ensuring all students understood the message -  the need to re-tell the story of the Holocaust, and to ensure the next generation never forget.

Retired teacher Maralyn spent the morning reading with students on the school's reading scheme.

Herts Advertiser: Maralyn Turgel with her familyMaralyn Turgel with her family (Image: Maralyn Turgel)

She then spent the next hour or so telling her story. Year 10 students have already studied WWII and the Holocaust, but "found Maralyn's talk fascinating" as it was told from such a personal viewpoint.

“We need to learn from it,” Maralyn said. “If you learn nothing else from this story, you must learn that everybody’s got a right to be in this world.”

She even had a recording of her father speaking about the atrocities he faced when he finally gave his testimony in May 1996, 51 years after the war.

He couldn’t face speaking of it any sooner, but when he finally did, Maralyn noticed he was a much calmer person.

"Speaking of it was clearly very good therapy, having suffered in silence for so many years," she said. 

Sam Gardner, born Shmuel Yankel Goldberg, was born in Poland in April 1925. He lived with his mother, father, sister and brother in a two-bedroom apartment.

In 1939, when Sam was 13, Nazis invaded Poland, and Sam’s mother, three-year-old brother, and 19-year-old sister hid in the attic, but were discovered in 1942 after being persuaded to surrender themselves.

The three family members were taken to Treblinka and gassed on arrival.

As Sam and his father were working as slave labourers at a glass factory at the time, they were spared. They found out about what happened to their family two weeks later.

Sam and his father were moved between concentration camps, before being separated in 1944. His father was transported to Buchenwald and Sam was moved to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. 

He was one of 42 survivors of the roughly 2,000 people who were forced onto the train from Flossenberg camp to Mauthausen.