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Holocaust survivor Chaim Ferster, who survived eight Nazi death camps, dies

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image captionChaim Ferster survived Auschwitz, malnutrition and typhus during WWII

A Holocaust survivor who cheated death in eight Nazi concentration camps during World War Two has died in hospital.

Chaim Ferster, 94, was forced from his home in Poland by the Nazis and survived Auschwitz, malnutrition and typhus. He later settled in Manchester.

He died from pneumonia and a kidney infection earlier surrounded by his three sons and family, his rabbi said.

Rabbi Arnold Saunders said he "had nine lives and was an inspiration".

image copyrightUnited States Holocaust Memorial Museum
image captionChild survivors at Auschwitz - still taken from footage recorded by Soviet forces

His sister Manya, 92, who was the only other member of his family to survive the Holocaust, managed to visit him just a few days before he died.

Mr Ferster, who lived in Salford, Greater Manchester was admitted to hospital last week.

He died just after midnight with his three sons at his bedside at North Manchester General Hospital.

His youngest son Stuart Ferster, 61, told the BBC: "His greatest fear was that people would forget the horrors of the Holocaust.

"That is why he spent so much time giving lectures in schools and colleges.

"We are so proud of him and the work he did."

image captionMr Ferster was 17 when the war broke out, in 1939

Nazi horrors

Born into an orthodox Jewish family and raised in the Polish town Sosnowiec, Mr Ferster was forced from his home by the Nazis in 1943 aged 20.

He witnessed mass executions, children crying for their murdered parents, bodies being burnt in the gas chambers and survived death marches.

In one camp, Mr Ferster recalled: "There were bodies lying on pallets, six one way, six the other way.

"There were many many pallets with bodies, very, very high."

image captionHis prison number B10924 tattoo on his left arm

He lost 30 relatives in the Holocaust including his mother, father and two sisters.

He later founded a sewing machine manufacturing business in Manchester.

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: "Chaim Ferster survived the worst horrors known to man, losing almost his entire family.

"In his later years, he dedicated himself to sharing his story of pain and loss with the next generation.

"He reminds us that eyewitnesses to the Holocaust will not be with us forever and that it is up to all of us to keep their legacies alive."

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  • The man who survived eight Nazi death camps