Holocaust survivor returns to Glasgow to share story with school pupils

Henry Wuga left his parents behind to escape Adolf Hitler's regime when he was 15-years-old in 1939.

Holocaust survivor,98, shares story with pupils at Glasgow Central Station where he arrived Poppyscotland

A 98-year-old Holocaust survivor who came to Scotland after fleeing Nazi Germany has returned to the Glasgow train station he arrived in 83-years ago.

Henry Wuga left his parents behind to escape Adolf Hitler’s regime when he was 15-years-old in 1939 as the Second World War was beginning to grip Europe.

He made Scotland his home and married his wife, Ingrid, who also escaped Germany via the Kindertransport, an international humanitarian programme that took about 10,000 children to Britain in the months leading up to the outbreak of war.

The former child refugee was back at Glasgow Central Station to share his story with a group of secondary school pupils.

He was in the city to help with the launch of new lessons for Scottish schools alongside PoppyScotland and the Gathering Voices Association.

The lessons will be based on the experience of Mr Wuga and other young refugees of the time.

Pupils will be encouraged to reflect on the stories and the issues facing more recent child refugees, including Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country today.

Mr Wuga met ten S2 pupils from Shawlands Academy under the clock at Central Station in Glasgow, where he first arrived in Scotland.

After the visit he said: “It was very interesting meeting the pupils and answering their questions. I think it’s so important to share my story with a new generation while I can.

Mr Wuga with Shawland's Academy pupils.Poppyscotland

“When I first arrived here 83 years ago it was a shock – I didn’t speak the language well, the food and customs were new.

“But Glasgow was very welcoming and I made it my home.”

The only son of successful caterers, Mr Wuga enjoyed a happy childhood before the Nazis came to power.

Then he witnessed growing antisemitism, from bullying at school to the horrors of Kristallnacht in 1938, when Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues were attacked.

As tensions increased, his mother secured him a place on the Kindertransport.

In Glasgow Mr Wuga attended school and worked on a farm in Perthshire before being wrongly accused of espionage after writing letters to his parents in Germany.

However his name was cleared and, after the war ended, he returned to Glasgow, where he took a job as a chef.

Mr Wuga’s father died of a heart attack during an air raid in 1941, but he was able to bring his mother, who had survived the war thanks to the help of a Catholic neighbour, to Scotland.

His wife, Ingrid, also lost many close relatives and friends in the Holocaust.

Gordon Michie, Poppyscotland’s head of fundraising and learning, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Mr Wuga for supporting us and sharing his harrowing story with a new generation of Scottish children.

“His first-hand testimony is an important addition to our learning programme and will encourage young young people to reflect on issues that are all too relevant today.

“Sadly, millions of children throughout the world continue to be uprooted from their homes, escaping war, persecution, and poverty.

“We hope this will promote a wider understanding of refugees’ experiences, then and now, the challenges they face when arriving in Scotland.”

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