Two former Highfields students played a pivotal role in the creation of a poignant BBC documentary that brought a Holocaust survivor’s horrific experiences inside a concentration camp to life.
The Newsround special documentary, ‘Finding My Family: Holocaust’, was created as part of commemorations to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
It follows Holocaust survivor Steven Frank as he takes his teenage granddaughter Maggie on a journey to learn about his experiences.
They visit Amsterdam to learn about his happy life there before the war, and what happened to Dutch Jews during Nazi occupation. They then travel to Terezin in the Czech Republic, where Steven was held, to learn about the horrors of life inside a concentration camp, before travelling to Auschwitz, where members of Steven’s family died.
Two former Highfields students, Maeve O’Sullivan and Joe Twilley, were part of the team that brought the moving documentary to life.
Maeve left Highfields in 2008 and now works as an Assistant Producer on BBC Newsround.
Talking about her role in the documentary, she said: “I worked on the production from the initial casting process through to the final post-production phase. My role as Assistant Producer involved finding a family to take part in the documentary.
“I liaised with archivists and historians to help shape the documentary and set up permission to film in locations across Europe. I assisted on location during a week of filming across Amsterdam, the Czech Republic and Poland.”
Maeve was put in touch with Steven Frank and his family through fellow former Highfields student Joe, who works as Communications Manager for the Holocaust Memorial Trust, which runs the annual Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th.
As part of his role, Joe encourages schools, workplaces, interfaith groups, councils, libraries and many more places to put on events and activities to mark the day.
He said: “It’s a particular privilege to be able to meet and speak with survivors of the Holocaust and more recent genocides as we share their experiences across the UK.
“I can’t claim too much credit for the documentary, but me and my colleagues at Holocaust Memorial Day Trust put the BBC in touch with Steven Frank. We’d worked with Steven before and he is a remarkable man who is so friendly and willing to talk about his experiences to educate others.
“I was with him recently doing some media interviews and he was full of praise for Maeve and the BBC team who travelled around Europe filming. It’s great to see the finished film and we know so many people have been watching it around Holocaust Memorial Day.”
To watch the film, click here