Updated: Thursday, 21st March 2019 @ 4:15pm

Holocaust survivor gifts Manchester University £1.5million to fund lectures and student prizes

Holocaust survivor gifts Manchester University £1.5million to fund lectures and student prizes

By Tim Hyde

An 86-year-old Holocaust survivor who fled the horrors of Nazi Germany has bequeathed the University of Manchester more than £1.5million.

Professor Fanni Bogdanow was one of 100,000 Jewish children rescued by the UK in a mission known as the Kindertransport.

After spending most of her life at Manchester University she donated the seven-figure lump sum to fund a series of lectures around Holocaust Memorial Day in 2015, prizes for high-performing students and support for the university.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, praised her fellow academic and the legacy she left behind.

She said: “Professor Bogdanow was a remarkable scholar with a remarkable story.

“She was able to conquer extreme adversity to become one of the leading scholars in her field and a valued member of the University community.

“We are delighted she left this sum to the University. This will be used in a manner which will serve as a fitting tribute to her memory.”

Professor Bogdanow fled her homeland in 1939 at the age of 11 and, as an only child with no surviving close relatives, was taken in by a Quaker family in Denton.

She was one of the few Kindertransport children whose parents survived, between them, the appalling concentration camps of Dachau, Wulzberg and Bergen-Belsen and was finally reunited with her mother in Manchester during the 1950s.

Professor Bogdanow was awarded three entrance scholarships to Manchester University in 1945 after achieving distinctions in seven out of her eight subjects at Fairfield High School for Girls.

After spending the majority of her academic career at the University she became one of the world’s foremost scholars in her field – King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Dr Matthew Philpotts, now head of Languages and Intercultural Studies, read his undergraduate degree at the university in French and German between 1991 and 1996, and spoke fondly of his time in her classes.

He said: “I was fortunate enough to have classes with Fanni when I was a student here in the early 1990s.

“She made no secret of her background and often mentioned it in class, but I don’t think any of us realised quite how remarkable her personal history was.

“Like so many of the best academics, she had a considerable presence and gave us a rare insight into the importance of her subject.”

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.