AN exhibition to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Kindertransport and Holocaust Memorial Day uses the artist’s own family’s involvement for inspiration.

Artist and teacher Simon Shaw, of Winterbourne Dauntsey, started working on his pieces about nine years ago using photographs from his father Otto’s childhood.

Otto, whose surname was Schachter before he changed it in the 1950s, was one of almost 10,000 predominantly Jewish children moved to Britain from Nazi Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland in the nine months before the outbreak of the Second World War.

His mother Netta sent him from their home in Vienna on the Kindertransport to Britain, where she hoped he would be safe.

Many of the 10,000 children were the only ones of their family to survive the war, but Otto was lucky. His mother managed to get out of Austria and join him in Scotland later.

He later found out his father Benno had also escaped. But he never got to see Benno again, only learning he had survived the war when a half-brother from Canada tracked him down after their father had died. The brother had found a photo of a ten-year-ol Otto in his belongings.

That photo, which was taken not long before Otto was transported to Britain, became the inspiration for Shaw’s work and features in several of his pieces, which are mixed media.

The exhibition will also include information about the Kindertransport and a film about it narrated by Richard Attenborough.

Shaw said: “I don’t want people to think it’s anti-German war stuff. Really the work is a personal exploration of my family. I like the idea of the happy side of it – the fact he survived, that people managed to get out.”

Journey is at Studio 53 in George Street from 10am to 5pm Saturday to Monday.

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