Sixth Formers' Auschwitz Lesson
Friday, 19 November 2010
Sixth Formers Will Burrow and Simon Lockett joined Bolton West MP Julie Hilling and several other post-16 students from Bolton Schools on a one day visit to the concentration camp Auschwitz. The trip was organised by the Holocaust Education Trust as part of its Lessons from Auschwitz Project. Will's reflections are below:
On Thursday 4th November, Simon Lockett and I had the opportunity to visit the sites of the concentration camps at Auschwitz as a part of the Lessons from Auschwitz project. After we initially visited the town of Oświęcim, (Auschwitz in German) to get an idea of what life was like for the Jewish community before the Holocaust, we travelled to the first camp, Auschwitz I. It is difficult to know how you will react to visiting the location where the most barbaric acts in modern history took place. My reaction upon seeing the gas chambers and crematoria was one of instant revulsion at the atrocities that had been committed. I also found myself deeply concerned at how easily individual human beings, each with their own life and story, had been subjected to such utter dehumanisation.
As a result of our visit both Simon and myself hope to carry out a number of events within the school community to raise awareness of the brutal crimes that were committed against humanity during the Holocaust and this will culminate on Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th. It is absolutely vital that we learn from the lessons of the Holocaust, to combat discrimination and to prevent the past from repeating itself. Sadly however, the attempted extermination of certain ethnic groups continues today. The murder of almost 800,000 people in only 100 days, mainly Tutsis, took place in Rwanda during 2004. Rwanda is also not an isolated incident; events in Bosnia, Kosovo and Sudan are examples of how genocide has continued throughout the 20th and into the 21st century. If there is one thing that we need to learn from the Holocaust, it is that such atrocities should never be allowed to occur again.