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Naftel

Interview with Freddy Naftel

Freddy Naftel has been the victim of prejudices, stereotyping and anti-semitism. In his talks, he shares his and his family’s personal stories and explains how his background and roots have affected him. We interview him here about his speaking and teaching career.

What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?
The chance to spread my important message, something the media generally ignores. I enjoy addressing audiences as it gives me more and more confidence.

 

What is a common misconception people have about the Holocaust or
Judaism?

Common opinions deem The Holocaust to be inclusive(?), irrelevant to today’s society and there are those who continually deny it ever happened. Therefore, people need seriously educating. As with any faith, most people have no idea what faith constitutes. Judaism is often coupled with Zionism, which is something totally different. I aim to break down myths and stereotypes.

 

The subject matter of your talks seems very personal, is this a challenge?
At first, I became very emotional and found it difficult to relax. However, although still a challenge, I now know exactly what to say and how to answer potentially difficult questions.

 

What types of unique experiences have you had as a result of your profession?
Meeting international students who knew nothing about The Holocaust but who told me they were honoured to have learnt the truth. The very mature
attitude of all students and the way they talk to you about their own negative experiences of racsim. Unfortunately, there have
been just a couple of occasions when I’ve been faced with a Nazi apologist and generalised views of Jews and Zionists. It doesn’t deter me, rather the
contrary. I have been lucky to work at such prestigious establishments as Eton, Marlborough and Wellington Colleges but I value the opportunity to work in all
educational environments.

 

How did you begin your speaking career?

I gave short assemblies at Aquinas College in Stockport to mark Holocaust Memorial Week and decided to expand my material to emcompass other acts of genocide and racism. Most importantly, it gave me the chance to talk about my own family and the lessons I have learnt from their experiences, plus the opportunity to exorcise my own demonizing experiences of anti-semitism as both a student and professional teacher. This has made me a much stronger person.

 

How would you say you are as a teacher?

As a teacher, I am passionate about my subject and as a speaker, totally dedicated to educating people of all ages and backgrounds.