Day 10: Harry Olmer BEM led by Highly Sprung Performance Co. & Advance Sprung Youth Group - 16th January
Bringing together performers from across the company, Highly Sprung Performance Co. & Advance Sprung Youth Group worked on a collaborative production – inspired by the testimony of Harry Olmer BEM.
Highly Sprung’s Advance Sprung Youth Group launched their pledge on Saturday 5th December through a short film with a fundraising target of raising £500 for War Child.
They also announced their commitment to make 20 lifesaving hygiene and care packages delivered to the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, which they delivered before Christmas.
They have chosen to support the charity War Child who support children, who like Harry, have been affected by war. Harry was denied basic needs throughout his traumatic experience, including lack of warm clothing, food and shelter. They also chose to collect donations of unwanted clothes, and items for winter care packages for the local refugee and migrant centre, again to help people like Harry who have lost their homes and families.
On Day 10 of the festival, Highly Sprung shared a short film from ‘The Sunrise Challenge’. Individual creative responses to the theme of sunrise as it rises into the sky as part of their pledge to celebrate life.
*The group piece planned for Coventry Cathedral will take place later in the year.
If you would like to donate to this cause please visit www.highlysprungperformance.co.uk/donate-to-our-work
"In Harry Olmer’s name we pledge to share his testimony and celebrate life. To recognise our differences and unite in our humanity. We promise to be a voice for those whose voice has been denied; to challenge intolerance and champion community and to always shine light where darkness grows.
"We will do this by fundraising annually for charities who support children caught up in conflict and working in partnership with the Coventry Refugee & Migrant Centre to support their work."
Harry was born Chaim Olmer in 1927 in Sosnowiec, Poland, the fourth of six children.
In 1940 his father, brother and Harry were forced into hard labour repairing roads and subsequently sent to Plaszow labour camp, then on to the notorious labour camp Skarzysko-Kamienna where Harry worked with chemicals under terrible conditions. He was later moved to a sub-camp of Burchenwald again working in dangerous conditions.
With the advance of the Red Army, he was moved to Terezin ghetto, which was liberated in 1945.
After a period of recuperation, Harry came to the UK to Windermere with a group of child survivors known as ‘The Boys’. He qualified and had a long successful career as a dentist, retiring in his 80’s after which he began to speak of his experiences.
“It's amazing what people, human beings actually can get through, they really can.”