Holocaust survivor ‘frightened’ by British political ‘extremes’

A Jewish woman who survived the Nazi occupation of Europe has said she is “depressed” and “frightened” by the “extreme” attitudes in British politics.

Ruth Posner, 89, who came to the UK in 1945 having fled Nazi persecution, was one of only two members of her family who survived the Holocaust. Her parents died in the Treblinka concentration camp.

She said: “The situation now, I find it incredibly depressing. It reminds me a little bit of when I was a child, I can’t stand it.”

Ruth Posner
Ruth Posner

Referring to her experiences of communist Poland, Mrs Posner expressed concern that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was leaning too far on the side of extreme politics.

She added: “I observed what happened in Poland, when it was run by a communist regime, it doesn’t bloody work.

“The manifesto is one thing: by the people, for the people; not for the few, for the many. It’s so corrupt.

“I’m sorry, but Mr Corbyn is moving in that direction. It’s frightening. It’s the extreme. Extreme capitalism is the same. It doesn’t work.”

Mrs Posner and her one surviving aunt escaped the Warsaw ghetto by adopting fake Catholic identities.

Ruth Posner
Ruth Posner

After arriving in the UK, she trained as an actress and a dancer and went on to work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Julliard School, but she describes living under the false name as her “first big acting experience”.

Mrs Posner said even though she cannot understand what drove the Nazis to commit the atrocity, the anger she feels for what they did encourages her to speak out.

She explained: “I didn’t want to talk about it, I didn’t want to have anything more to do with it until recently.

“But [thinking about] the scientific know-how of gas chambers and working out how many people you can gas and kill in one go? It makes me livid.

“I’m talking about something that I don’t understand myself and I can’t find the answer for it, I’m talking about when hatred becomes an ideology. I just can’t understand it.”