Surviving the Holocaust: Mala Tribich MBE

27th November 2015

News, Student news, Alumni news

Mala Tribich MBE, who endured slave labour and internment at Ravensbrück and Bergen Belsen concentration camps, shared her experiences at the Wadham Human Rights Forum.

Click on the video below to watch the presentation:

Play Mala Tribich MBE

We had to undress, our heads were shaved, we were given cold communal showers and camp clothes. We looked all the same, like objects. It had a terrible effect....they had taken everything and it felt like they had taken our very souls.

Mala Tribich

Born  Mala Helfgott on 24th September 1930 in Piotrkow-Trybunalski, Poland, Mala experienced the whole range of Nazi atrocities except the gas chamber: life in a Ghetto, as a hidden child, and as a slave labourer in a plywood factory.

In November 1944 she was deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp and in February 1945 to Bergen Belsen, where she nearly died of typhus. Saved by liberation by the British Army, and nursed back to good health, she was rehabilitated in Sweden.  Mala's  mother and younger sister Lusia were brutally murdered in December 1942, and her father was shot while trying to escape from a death march only four days before the end of the war. Mala was reunited in Britain in March 1947 with her brother Ben, who had survived Buchenwald and Theresienstadt.

Mala speaks on behalf of the Holocaust Educational Trust which was established in 1988. Its aim is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and the important lessons to be learned for today.

  • Mala Tribich MBE

    Mala Tribich MBE

  • Mala with Wadham's Warden, Ken Macdonald QC

    Mala with Wadham's Warden, Ken Macdonald QC

  • Human Rights Forum visitors

The first thing that struck you was the terrible smell. People were skeletons, shuffling along like zombies...everywhere piles of naked, decaying corpses.

Mala Tribich (describing her arrival at Bergen Belsen)

Wadham Human Rights Forum is a continuing series of lectures, seminars and discussions hosted by the Wadham College Law Society and open to all. Discussion is chaired by Warden of Wadham College, Ken Macdonald QC.