Auschwitz Project 2012

Posted on Friday 26 October 2012

Holocaust Education Trust

On Thursday October 18th I accompanied three history students from Farnborough on a visit to the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz Birkenau as one part of the Holocaust Education Trust Lessons from Auschwitz project 2012.

After submitting excellent applications as to why they wished to participate in the project, Jana Harnikova, Clio Ayling and Alexandra Bellis were chosen to represent the college, each student representing one of the 3 courses offered by the history department.

Prior to the visit the students attended a seminar in London in which they heard the harrowing tale of Kitty Hart Moxon, a Polish survivor of the Holocaust. The girls were also given vital background information with regards to pre-war Jewish life in Eastern Europe in order that they could begin to humanise the victims of the Nazi 'Final Solution' from the well known statistics.

On the day of the visit, the girls flew to Krakow in the early hours of the morning along with myself and around 200 other students from the South East region . They were accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt (Hon) Nick Clegg, Rabbi Barry Marcus from the Central London Synagogue, a team from BBC Breakfast and The Times.

The day's events included visiting the Jewish cemetery in Oświęcim as well as a dramatic narrated tour of the State Museum at Auschwitz I and the desolate remains of Auschwitz II - Birkenau. The visit ended with a memorial ceremony led by Rabbi Marcus next to the dynamited remains of the crematoria at Birkenau. The ceremony featured a memorial prayer sung in Hebrew to the victims of the Nazis and added further poignancy to a day already heavy with reflection and emotion.

The girls will now go on to create their own Lessons from Auschwitz response using their reflective journals and memories of the day and seminars. The purpose is for them to pass on the lessons learnt from their experiences of the seminars and visit to Poland to others.

Jana, Clio and Alexandra have shown a great deal of maturity and commitment to the project from the outset and are now looking forward to sharing their experiences of this unique project with the wider college community. 

Gavin Sheffield
History Teacher
 

Jana, Alex and Clio at Auschwitz I

Jana, Alex and Clio at Auschwitz I

Auschwitz II Guard Tower

Auschwitz II Guard Tower

Awaiting the memorial service

Awaiting the memorial service