TRYING to teach a subject like the Holocaust is a huge challenge, made harder by the passing of time.

However, students at John Kyrle were treated to an amazing experience when visited by a witness to the Holocaust, Eva Mendelsonn.

Eva has a particular connection to John Kyrle as both her grandsons currently attend school in Years 10 and 12 respectively.

Both Otto and Felix were present, alongside 400 other students, to hear from Eva about her harrowing experiences in Nazi Germany and occupied France.

She and her family suffered immensely, being held in a variety of concentration camps in horrific conditions.

Eva and her older sister Miriam survived the war and were able to reunite in England with her father. Tragically, her mother and eldest sister were both killed at Auschwitz.

Eva's one hour talk over two days covered her experiences in depth, alongside an underlying message of hope, collective spirit, unconditional love and standing up for others.

Students listened intensely and engaged fully with the process, with many coming up to speak with Eva personally following the talk.

Although emotions were raw, students left optimistic for the future as a result of Eva's survival and subsequent life, which saw her marry and extend her family (which now numbers 22 members).

Eva herself described her current diverse family as her revenge on Hitler and the Nazis who sought to destroy her heritage and culture.

A JKHS spokesman said "We were exceptionally lucky to have been visited by Eva and heard such an inspirational story. It is an event that will live long in the students' and teachers' memories and provide an unrivalled enhancement of understanding in relation to the Holocaust".