A holocaust survivor implored ‘please don’t hate’ as he shared his wartime experiences with hundreds of students.

Zigi Shipper BEM, who survived Auschwitz and Stuthoff concentration camps in Poland, spoke to around 300 students on February 5 as part of Watford Synagogue’s series of Holocaust Memorial Day events.

Mr Shipper urged his young audience to learn the lessons of history.

He said: “I beg of you please don’t hate. It will ruin your life.

“I want you to go home and say to your mum and dad and others you meet, ‘why do you hate them because they are a different nationality or religion or have a different skin colour?’

“And never ever give up. It may be that which saved my life.

“Tell you friends and family my story and what you have learnt today as the survivors are getting old – I’m one of the younger ones at 88 – and we need you to be our messengers when we are no longer here.”

The Rt Hon Sir Eric Pickles, special envoy for post-Holocaust issues was at the closing ceremony on February 7.

The Year 9 to 13 students at Watford Synagogue came from Watford Boys’ Grammar, Hemel Hempstead School, Abbott’s Hill (Hemel Hempstead) and Purcell School of Music.

Students studying Health and Social Care at Watford’s West Herts College were also present.

The Watford Synagogue events were part of a programme of Northwood Holocaust Memorial Day activities involving 3,200 students representing 50 schools.

The theme of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day was The Power of Words to educate about past atrocities.