John Fransman is a founder of The Child Survivors Association of Great Britain. He was born in Amsterdam three weeks before the Second World War began, to a large
Anglo-Dutch Jewish family. He is a child survivor of the Holocaust. In June 1943 his family was rounded up and removed to Westerbork, a camp on the Dutch-German border. Westerbork had originally been built to accommodate Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. By the time Fransman and his family arrived it was a transit camp for sending Dutch Jews to the extermination camps Sobibor or Auschwitz/Birkenau. The majority of his family was sent quickly to Sobibor or Auschwitz, where they were murdered. Yet for unknown reasons John, his parents, an aunt, uncle and two cousins remained in Westerbork for seven months before they were sent to Bergen-Belsen in January 1944. His father died there in October 1944. In November 1944 his uncle, along with other members of the Dutch diamond business, was selected for deportation to Auschwitz. John, his mother, Aunt Cissie and cousin Maurice all survived and were eventually reunited. However his cousin Helen died 10 days after the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. All told John Fransman lost over 150 of his relatives in 3 camps between May 1943 and April 1945. After liberation they returned to Amsterdam for a while, but were unable to reclaim their home, their possessions or their former lives. Haunted by their past they moved to Great Britain. John has lived there since 1949. He is married with 2 children and several grandchildren.
This interview took place in Rwanda during the commemorations of the Rwandan genocide.