Sussex

Holocaust survivor Dorit Oliver-Wolff receives British Empire Medal

Dorit Oliver-Wolff
Image caption Dorit Oliver-Wolff is among 31 people recognised for Holocaust education

A Holocaust survivor who hid in a cellar with her mother for nine months without light or heating has been recognised in the New Year Honours.

Dorit Oliver-Wolff, 84, from Eastbourne in East Sussex, has been given a British Empire Medal for services to Holocaust education and awareness.

She has been giving talks to schools, community groups and businesses about her experiences for more than a decade.

She said she was "really excited" to be honoured for just doing her job.

Ms Oliver-Wolff was born in Novi Sad in Serbia - formerly Yugoslavia - and was unaware that she was Jewish until the age of five, when a woman spat at her on the street.

In 1941, she and her mother fled and travelled from place to place within Hungary, creating new identities before hiding in a cellar, from where her mother would sneak out at night to look for food in bombed-out shops.

Singer and 'pin-up' model

She returned to Serbia in 1945 after the Soviet army liberated Hungary, where she discovered that her father and the rest of the family had been killed by the Nazis.

Ms Oliver-Wolff said all she wanted to do was "to become a singer one day".

Two years later she was awarded a scholarship to a music academy, and went on to become a jazz and blues singer and "pin-up" model in Germany.

Ms Oliver-Wolff is among 31 people recognised in the New Year Honours list for Holocaust education.

Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: "Having experienced unthinkable trauma and loss at the hands of the Nazis, these remarkable individuals now dedicate so much of their time to sharing their testimony.

"Their efforts to share their experiences have an immeasurable impact, both honouring their loved ones who were murdered by the Nazis, and teaching about the dangers of prejudice, intolerance and hatred."

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