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Lessons from Auschwitz

In November 2016, two pupils took part in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Programme. Participating in two seminars in Manchester and a visit to Poland to visit the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Auschwitz Birkenau, pupils Lauren Novelli and Liv Brougham tell us their account…

On 15th November, we visited Poland. We began by visiting the town of Oświęcim, more commonly known by the German name of “Auschwitz”. Here we observed the town where pre-war Jews would visit the market place and it really hit us how these people had lives, hopes and dreams before becoming victims of the Holocaust. We then visited the camp of Auschwitz. It is one thing being in a seminar learning about the horrific events that took place there, but standing in a place where millions of Jews were sent to their deaths is quite another. What hit us about visiting Auschwitz most was going into the gas chamber where the murder took place. It is a surreal feeling and one no one can describe to you, standing in a place where such horror took place. Our final, and possibly the most emotional visit was to Auschwitz Birkenau. We stood on the iconic train tracks that brought various groups from all over Europe and even though we were stood there, it is quite unimaginable to think of what the scene was like 71 years prior to our visit.

We are now ambassadors for the Holocaust Educational Trust and it is our job to spread awareness of what happened during the horrific events of the Holocaust, and how we can avoid something like it ever happening again. Therefore, we will be working hard during the next year and beyond and have planned various events in order to do this such as conducting an assembly and teaching a lesson to the Year 9 History classes in January. We are looking forward to completing our Next Steps Project and making sure we can spread awareness of what happened during the worst genocide mankind has ever seen.