A NEWPORT MP welcomed 86-year-old Renate Collins to Westminster this week and shared with the House of Commons her remarkable story of how she narrowly escaped the horrors of the Nazis.

Mrs Collins was five years old when she boarded a train to the UK – the last so-called Kindertransport to leave Prague in 1939, before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Along with other rescued Jewish children, the young Mrs Collins was brought to the UK and placed in foster care.

She has lived in Wales ever since, and now resides in Caldicot. She was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours in December, for her services to Holocaust education.

Though Mrs Collins escaped the Nazis' programme of systematic imprisonment and genocide, 64 members of her family were killed during the Holocaust.

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazis' death camps in Auschwitz, Newport East MP Jessica Morden invited Mrs Collins to the House of Commons, and told her story in a parliamentary debate.

South Wales Argus:

"I am hugely privileged to have Renate as a constituent – she is an amazing woman who works tirelessly with groups and schools to share her family story experience to ensure this never happens again," Ms Morden said. "I am so grateful to her for the work she does and would like to put her story on record today."

Over the years, Mrs Collins has found out more about what happened to her relatives, who were rounded up by the Nazi occupiers and transported to concentration camps and extermination camps, like Treblinka, in eastern Europe.

They were among an estimated six million Jewish people to be murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust – around two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population at the time. The Nazis also targeted other minority groups, including the Roma, homosexuals, and people with disabilities.

South Wales Argus:

(Renate Collins from Caldicot who has received an BEM in the New Years honours . .www.christinsleyphotography.co.uk.)

"It is so important we remember the families, homes and lives torn apart; children who never saw their family again, and the dangers and devastating consequences of racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism," Ms Morden told MPs in the Commons. "Renate, who as I said is an absolutely brilliant woman, has always told me that this extreme hatred and intolerance can always 'raise its ugly head again', and the importance of the Holocaust Memorial Day is that we learn these lessons and act to see that it is never repeated.


"I too, like other members, would like to pay tribute to the Holocaust Educational Trust [and] Holocaust Memorial Day trust; and finally I pay tribute to Renate, her whole family, and her continued commitment to educating and informing people about what she and millions of others went through within our lifetime. Nothing can compare to the testimony of survivors."