Sabina Miller obituary

Other lives: Educator and Holocaust survivor determined to share the story of her life

My grandmother Sabina Miller, who has died aged 95, was an educator and Holocaust survivor. She worked closely with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) and was awarded a British Empire Medal in 2017 for services to education.

Sabina shared her life story to warn about the dangers of hatred. She liked to stress the importance of tolerance and kindness, inspiring respect in everyone who met her.

She was born in Warsaw to Sarah (nee Trylerer) and Abraham Najfeld. Abraham owned a shop, a grocer and chemist’s, while Sarah looked after the family. Sabina survived the Warsaw ghetto and spent most of the second world war on the run from the Nazis.

As a teenager in the ghetto she caught typhus and blacked out for a long period. When she came to, her mother and father were gone. Her elder brother helped smuggle her out of the ghetto and she ended up working on a farm run by a Lithuanian man. But she ran away when she heard that lorries were coming for Jewish people.

She spent the winter of 1942-43 living in a freezing hole dug by partisans in the forests of northern Poland, and then survived slave labour and interrogations by the Gestapo by denying her Jewish identity. She ended up hiding out in Germany under false names. Sabina was the only member of her family to survive

Immediately after the war, in a displaced persons camp in Papenburg, Germany, she met Arthur Miller, a Polish soldier who had been attached to the British army. They married in 1947 and came to Britain, where Arthur had the right to resettle. They built up a successful fashion business, and Sabina was always grateful for the sense of acceptance she felt in Britain. Sabina and Arthur divorced after 30 years of marriage.

In her later years, Sabina regularly volunteered her time with HMDT, speaking to hundreds of people every year, and reaching many more through her work with the media. Her aim, she would say, was to raise awareness of not just the Holocaust, but other genocides as well, to help people learn the lessons of these injustices. She was interviewed by the Guardian in 2010 and 2015.

In 2015, Sabina played a key role in the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in HMDT’s Memory Makers art project, for which she was recognised with a Freedom of the City of London award.

Her son, Stuart, died in a motorcycle accident in 2011. Sabina is survived by her daughter, Sandra, six granddaughters and seven great-grandchildren.

Vikki Miller

The GuardianTramp

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