In the summer term, Sixth Form students were invited to apply to represent CRGS on the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ programme, organised annually by the Holocaust Education Trust. This year we were lucky enough to be able to send four students; Caitlin, Lucinda, Eleanor and Junaid. Junaid’s personal account of his experience follows.
“We began with an orientation seminar in Manchester, where we were able to meet a Holocaust survivor, Ziggi Shipper, and other participants from various schools across the North West. It was an unforgettable experience, allowing us to hear the personal memories of a survivor first-hand.
Following the seminar, we prepared for our visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on 4th November. Flying from Manchester, early in the morning, we reached Poland in a few hours. The whole day was a transformative experience. We began by visiting the Jewish Cemetery in Krakow, reserved primarily for those who died before the Holocaust. It showed a glimpse of the everyday lives that Polish Jews once had, and how much things changed in Poland in the 1930s and 1940s.
We then visited Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau. It was shocking to see the size of these camps: no pictures are able to put it into perspective. After the exploration of issues surrounding the camps and the Holocaust, a candlelit vigil was held beside the very tracks that brought people into the camp for selection. Led by a Rabbi, it was an experience that is sure to remain in our hearts forever.
After the visit, we began to plan our ‘Next Steps’, the aim of which is to spread our knowledge and increase awareness of this subject. We are looking forward to being able to share our unforgettable experiences with our communities, both inside and outside the Sixth Form.”