Story of Sam Gardener

This is a report about the remarkable story of Sam Gardener as told to our Year 6 class by Marilyn Turgel.

He lived in a small town in Poland just on the border of Germany with his mother, father, sister and brother. He lived in a neighbourhood full of multicultural people.

In 1939 the Nazi’s started  marching their troupes into Poland. Since there village was on the border of Germany, they could hear gun shots from the distance. Due to the rules put in place by Hitler, Jewish people couldn’t walk on the streets, work, go shopping, go to school or even use a public bus.

Eventually as the war got worse and worse, Sam and his family were forced to move to a ghetto (which is a part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups). Every square metre was filled to the brim with as many people possible. Sam and his family lived there for 2 long years.

This is a picture of a ghetto from the beginning of the war where possibly thousands of Jewish people could have been crammed into each apartment block.


300 Jewish people were taken out each day to do human labour including. Sam Gardener was one of those labourers.


Fast forward a few years, Sam and his dad had been moved to live and work on a labour camp. Sadly soon after they moved across Sam found out that his mother, sister and brother had been killed at the hands of the Nazis.


After weeks of working at the first labour camp, they got dumped onto a cattle cart and were moved to another labour camp.

When they arrived they spent all night sewing the Star of David to their uniforms.

The camp they were in was brutal! There was no soap and barely any food (except for a loaf of bread to share between 12 people a week).

Eventually Sam had an idea! He thought that he should go down to the potato cellar and came up with the cunning plan to stuff his clothes full of potatoes. One snowy morning he carefully climbed back out of the cellar to find a guard staring at him. He luckily didn’t get shot.

One day his father had horrible leg pain. He couldn’t last any longer working, so the Nazis sent him away to his hometown. Sam was devastated.

A few months later, the Americans came and rescued the Jewish people held in captivity. They took Sam to try and find his family but it turned out they were all gone.

Sam was very clever and told the authorities he was 14 so that he was able to travel to the United Kingdom. He was taken to Windemere where he lived for a number of months. He had to learn basic skills again, such as eating without rationing or stealing food.

After 6 months he opened a tailor’s business which grew and grew and got married. Sam eventually found out that his father sadly died 1 day before the war had ended.


Reported by Sophia and Millie – Year 6

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