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Story in sculpture: Holocaust survivor and French Resistance fighter Freddie Knoller, 98

PUBLISHED: 13:50 22 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:20 28 January 2020

Freddie Knoller, 98, joined the French Resistance before he was detained in Auschwitz. Picture: Blake Ezra Photography 2014

Freddie Knoller, 98, joined the French Resistance before he was detained in Auschwitz. Picture: Blake Ezra Photography 2014

© Blake Ezra Photography Ltd. 2014.

Holocaust survivor and resistance fighter Freddie Knoller, 98, has lived through the worst of life, and come to appreciate the very best, too.

Freddie's incredible life has now been honoured in sculpture. Picture: Sophie DunneFreddie's incredible life has now been honoured in sculpture. Picture: Sophie Dunne

Born in Vienna in 1921, and now of north west London, he has told his story of incarceration, escape and survival.

In 1940, he was interned in a refugee camp in Belgium. In 1943, after Freddie escaped and signed false papers, he joined the French Resistance.

Then, following a broken French love affair, Freddie was betrayed and deported to Auschwitz, Poland, sent on a death march to Bergen-Belsen, Germany, and on April 15 1945, liberated by the British Army.

Now, aged 98, Freddie's incredible life has been scripted in sculpture.

At Selig Court indepenednt living appartments, Golders Green, Frances Segelman created a live, life-size clay bust of Freddie. "Although I have had many photos taken of me, I have never been sculpted before," said Freddie, of the honorary event on Sunday, 19 January.

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"It was very exciting to be sculpted by Frances, she is a fantastic artist and has created an amazing sculpture of me."

Frances, also known as Lady Petchey, added: "It has been a great privilege to sculpt Freddie Knoller - these important art events help future generations learn from the Holocaust so that it never happens again."

After surviving the terrors of World War Two, Freddie worked in Baltimore, USA, where he met and married his wife Freda, who was born in England, and where the couple returned two years later to have two daughters, Marcia and Susie.

Freddie and Freda worked to develop their chain of shops, Lady M, and, on retirement, Freddie became director of the state of Israel Bonds.

It was only in in 1975, under his daughter's insistence that he opened up about his experiences during the Holocaust, that Freddie became a member of the Holocaust Survivors' Centre in Hendon.

On behalf of the centre, he spoke at 385 schools to raise awareness about the Holocaust, leading to his award of the British Empire Medal in 2016, aged 94.

In story or sculpture, Freddie's remarkable life lives on.

To see a video of Freddie's sculpting, click here.

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