Shoah survivor and educator to receive honorary doctorate

Shoah survivor and educator to receive honorary doctorate

Bratislava-born Iby Knill will get her qualification 70-years after coming to Britain to make it her home

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

A Holocaust survivor-turned educator living in Leeds is to receive an honorary doctorate from a British university, 70 years after she made Britain her home.

Iby Knill, who was born in Bratislava in 1923, is to receive the honourary award from the University of Huddersfield in November, 13 years after she made the decision to reveal her story and educate others about the Holocaust.

Iby was forced to flee to Hungary in 1942, where she was imprisoned and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she worked as slave labour in an armament factory. Later, on a forced march to Bergen-Belsen, she was liberated by the American army.

Marrying a British serviceman, she came to England in 1947, teaching and tutoring, then working as a textile designer. It was only in 2003 – at the age of 80 – that she decided to tell her story, which until then had been her secret.

Last year, after a decade in which she has spoken to 26,000 people, released two books and featured in a BBC documentary about her life, she was guest speaker at the university’s Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations.

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