Speaker on the Holocaust
Zahava Kohn (Kanarek) was born in Palestine and grew up in Amsterdam in the late 1930’s. As part of a Jewish family living in Nazi Europe, these were turbulent times: she and her family were captured and sent to Westerbork transit camp in Holland after which she and her parents were incarcerated in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. They were released in 1945 and, following a period of intensive rehabilitation in Switzerland, settled back in Amsterdam.
In March 1963 she married Dr Ralph Kohn (the late Sir Ralph Kohn) , a pharmacologist and has lived in London ever since. She has three daughters and five grandchildren.
In 2001, Zahava discovered her late mother’s archive of documents and memories hidden away in a small suitcase at the back of her mother’s cupboard – these artefacts had been precariously collected during the war. Armed with this mountain of memories, Zahava wove together the story of her family’s wartime experiences in the book, ‘Fragments of a Lost Childhood’ (published in 2009). Since its publication, Zahava, together with her daughter Hephzibah has visited schools across the UK and Germany to talk to young people of all backgrounds and creeds about ‘Surviving the Holocaust’. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Zahava also regularly contributes to education sessions at London’s Jewish Museum and the National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Nottingham. Her story has been featured online by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
In April 2015 Zahava was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
In October 2015 Zahava was awarded the ‘Freedom of the City of London’ for her work in Holocaust education
In June 2019 Zahava received the Points of Light Award from Prime Minister Theresa May in recognition for her work in Holocaust education.
Zahava has been actively involved in a wide range of charitable work over the years, supporting the arts and music as well as scientific, educational and humanitarian causes.
Note to Schools:
Lady Zahava Kohn gives talks together with her daughter Hephzibah, whose biography is viewable here: https://www.speakers4schools.org/speakers/hephzibah-rudofsky/