Freddie Knoller: The Eternal OptimistBy
Listening through a few answerphone messages at our office, an effervescent voice filled the room – a voice full of varied intonation and enthusiasm. It was the one and only Freddie Knoller, thanking us for sending him some prints from a recent event, to go up on the walls in his London home.
Freddie is one of a kind, he was featured this week in a BBC documentary called ‘Surviving The Holocaust’, which detailed his personal story, as his book ‘Living With The Enemy’ also does in such a captivating way. Freddie is a true inspiration, a resourceful survivor, an absolute gentleman, an eternal optimist, an elderly man with a child-like smile… and a natural flirt. Despite all that he has been through, he is a perennial joker and his humour is always apparent – indeed he says that his humour and optimism kept him alive during the darkest days. Once, whilst waiting patiently in the wings as we photographed Freddie at a fundraising event surrounded by a group of ladies, his devoted wife Freda whispered to us, “He may have survived the Holocaust but I’ve survived over 60 years of marriage with him!” Priceless.
We are utterly privileged to have photographed him many times, and would urge any of our readers to go and hear Freddie speak if ever presented with the opportunity. It is a life-changing experience. He says, “My whole mission in life is that the world should never forget what happened. And this is the reason I talk about my story.” A brief account of his fascinating life can be found here on the Holocaust Education Trust website.
Here are a few of our favourite photographs of Freddie from recent times…
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