A small selection of comments Linked Below:
From North Leeds Life April 2016
Fabian Hamilton MP:
Chapel Allerton Library was the venue for the recent launch of Iby Knill’s latest book ‘The Woman with Nine Lives’, published by Scratching Shed Publishing Ltd. I was flattered to have been asked to write a foreword to this book, and I feel very privileged to know Iby. I first met her after seeing her on the BBC’s ‘My Story’. She spoke of her experiences in Hitler’s Europe and particularly in Auschwitz in a way which transported the listener back in time Perhaps the part of her story that impressed me most was her account of how she and a group of other women were able to support one another, sticking together in a way that made it harder for them to be picked off individually.
Iby kept her story locked inside her head for a very long time, but once she began to tell it, it came pouring out. Her first book ‘The Woman without a Number’, was just the beginning. Although she is now in her nineties, she continues to give talks all over the UK. As her MP, in 2010 I was able to introduce her to the Speaker of the House of Commons, Mr John Bercow, who was so moved by her story that he invited her to address MPs, Peers and staff of the House.
Iby writes beautifully – she is also a poet – and her books are compelling records of her extraordinary experiences. Although the subject matter can be bleak, Iby writes with grace and humour, so that the books are uplifting rather than depressing. It is as if she cannot rest until the whole world has heard what she has to say. My admiration for Iby increases every time I talk to her. She reminds us that though humanity can be capable of evil, it can also overcome it through forgiveness and friendship.
“I enjoyed it so very much. I don’t suppose I shall ever hear a first-hand testament from another Holocaust survivor again; and I thought there were some extremely telling details and asides. I do hope all lby’s efforts serve for something; I am sure they will? lust a note tot hank you for organising yesterday, and particularly for inviting us. We found it most interesting and moving. What a remarkable woman; what a remarkable experience; and what grace and insight she now shows.”
“I was struck by how the human mind and body can adapt to survive the most extraordinary atrocities. It was so revealing when she said they never mentioned their family in the camp and talked about food most of the time. And not being able to hear or speak German for all those years – a truly remarkable lady.”
“Thank you so much for organizing such a wonderful talk last night with lby. It was incredibly moving and humbling and fascinating to hear her story. Hearing her story puts our own lives into perspective and makes you realize how lucky we have all been and how precious life surely is. She is an inspiration.”
“Thank you for organizing a very thought provoking and moving evening last night Like most people, I thought lby’s experience was profoundly shocking – even though it was an experience that has been told many times through film, documentary and media. It is somehow more powerful when told in person from one individual’s point of view. I also thought she spoke incredibly well for an 87 year old. I admired her for what she is now doing and thought the points she made were wise and her objectives noble.”
“That was the most amazing evening and very emotional. She is staggering and looks so young. We had a nice long chat to lby and her daughter. I was glad to see some of the young r had emailed came and were so glad they did. I keep thinking about it all and am looking forward to reading her book.”
“A late thanks (just got back to my lap top after a while away!) for organizing this evening – I found it very interesting and a real privilege to hear an exceptional individual talking about her experiences lby’s talk was utterly absorbing. Her bravery and her willingness to face the past were truly inspiring. The picture she painted of the casual cruelty of her captors (e.g. not knowing each week if water or gas would come out of the shower) was horrific. On a subtler note, I was very interested in her comments about why some survived and not others. And I was struck, once again, by the way that discrimination and hatred can build up in a society insidiously, over time, in small, apparently insignificant ways. Layer upon layer, small acts of hatred create a culture in which those acts are first tolerated, then legitimized and then lauded.
Your comments about the importance of international “recognition” of wrong done were also extremely well made.
Thank you again for organizing such a fascinating evening.”
We have recently received this wonderful message from Tim Kerr:
I’ve lost count of the number of people who have come up to me to say that your talk had a profound impact on them. At one stage, I was being approached daily by people I barely know. It was extraordinary. While this was going on, I was reading your book. I’ve read numerous accounts of the Holocaust over the years, but this was my first experience of reading the story of someone I’d had the pleasure of meeting. My reading was intertwined with conversations between myself and these locals who had also heard you talk and who were reading your book. The effect was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Your written words melded beautifully with those you had spoken with such understated drama (in the Drama Hall!) At the same time, I was seeing and ‘hearing’ your account through the eyes and ears of others who were there that night. I felt almost as though you and I had spent some time living together, such was the level of immersion in your story. And yet, I’m certain that I know but a tiny fragment of the whole; I have the greatest respect for your strength in being able to give us this much (for it has come at a cost).
I’ve made some money over the years from writing, but I can’t put in to words just how hugely powerful your story is, or the impact it’s had. So, I’ll simply say ‘thank you for coming to Steyning’. As one fifty-something gentleman put it to me in the Co-op queue one wet Wednesday evening; “That woman has lived a rare life over nine decades and she’s changed mine in about 2 hours.” You will long be remembered here and I shall never forget that pleasant afternoon in Karon’s garden.
I’ve written today, because the events in Israel (four worshippers murdered in their synagogue) have taken yet another turn for the worse. I stared at the radio as I listened with mounting despair to what has happened. The barbarity isn’t confined to one sect, creed or race; it’s a huge, complex web of hatred that touches many hearts and drives appalling acts on all sides. Reflecting on your story in light of today’s events reminds me of something we discussed the afternoon we met; there are times when no deal can be done, no words of comfort can be offered and no compromise can be found. At such times, we must turn to people like you, Iby, and like those you are carefully training, because you have a story to tell that can change men’s hearts when all else is lost. And that is why I know we will all wake up tomorrow and keep trying.
It was wonderful to welcome you back to St Peter’s the weekend before last & for such a large audience (nearly 400) to hear your story first hand.
Thank you very much for coming to speak here again, for the energy you bring & for the clarity with which you retell the events of the Holocaust. As you said in answer to a question there is no need to tell the horrors – but your matter of fact account of what happened underlines the story even more starkly.
We are honoured & grateful to have heard from you a second time. Please do let us know when your second book comes out.
With best wishes, Ben Fuller – St Peter’s School York
Roger Hale, Headmaster of Caistor Grammar School:
Thank you so much for your tremendous speech last night and for being such an inspiring figure to our whole school community throughout the day. The school is full of remarks about how memorable you were : it’s like a tonic has been served up at a Health Spa to everyone here!
Every time you talk to people you are helping the world.
Hello Iby. After the talk you gave yesterday in Quarry House I spoke with quite a few of my colleagues who had also attended. We all felt we had been extremely privileged to have had the chance to listen to your talk (which was excellent, despite the IT problems that you had to contend with !). As your personal story it was engaging (and I have already started reading your book to learn more) but you managed to give a great insight into the history of the time in a way that we can’t get from newsreals, all packed into an hour. It really resonates with what is happening around the world at the moment and reinforces the need to keep the subject alive. Thank you so much for coming to Quarry House. (You also gave me a great opportunity to tell my children what had happened during my day at work which for once was something they were interested in so I have that to thank you for as well). All the very best, John.
‘We were all left moved and inspired by your personal testimony, and struck by your good humour, energy, resilience and ability to communicate with such a large group, skilfully pitching your talk to engage young people. Many of my colleagues commented in particular how much they loved the poem with which you closed the session. In this you have captured brilliantly the message for young people as we move forward, and this chimed perfectly with our wider Equality and Diversity Week’. Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Otley
Our grade received an assignment to create a website about one of the survivors of the Holocaust. I was going through survivors’ stories but when I came across your story I couldn’t have passed it. Your story gave inspiration. You are one of my inspirations and I want to show you the website. I really just wanted to say thank you. Because of you, you gave many women across the world inspiration. You managed to survive one of the most horrific events in history and because of that your story will be passed through many generations. Rayan Hussein
See Rayan’s website at http://ibyknillsurvivoroftheholocaust.weebly.com