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Two students from Stoke Damerel Community College have visited the sites of former concentration camps in Poland as part of an Auschwitz project.

 Jake and Tia, who are in Year 12, say the experience is one they will never forget.

They were among around 200 students and teachers from across the country, who spent the day touring Auschwitz concentration camp and Auschwitz Birkenau death camp, where 1.1m people died during the Second World War.

The visit was organised by Holocaust Educational Trust through its Lessons From Auschwitz project and before leaving for the trip Jake and Tia attended a workshop in Exeter where they met a Holocaust survivor.

 Lessons From Auschwitz

The Trust was set up to raise awareness of the past events, and also teach students about current world politics and events where genocides are still happening today.

Sixth form student Jake said: "The main way to describe the visit is thought-provoking.

"It was haunting and intriguing and what you feel changes as the day goes on and as it got dark it allowed you to imagine what it would have been like at the camps which was especially haunting.

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"Meeting a Holocaust survivor before we went gave me a real insight and now we're planning to ask a Holocaust survivor to come in to speak to students here at the College."

Jake said there were two keys things he and Tia wish to achieve from their visit.

"We want to humanise the Holocaust by getting people to think about the actual individuals involved as well as getting them to pay more attention to what is going in the world today," he said.

Tia said it had been a "very intense" day.

"It was difficult to come back to reality - it's a lot to take in in one day and it was on my mind a lot when I came home.

"It raises lots of questions about how can humans do such things to each other 

"We want to try to relate it to today's society and emphasise how we're all, in the end, just humans."

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History teacher Miss Dyer, who accompanied the students, said:" As part of the Lessons From Auschwitz experience both Tia and Jake had to attend three separate sessions, two in Exeter and the trip to Poland.

"The orientation included a talk from a Holocaust survivor and Tia, Jake and myself found this to be an incredible experience.

"During our visit to Poland we were very lucky to hear more personal testimonies as we went through all the sites.

"I know Jake and Tia felt that these personal stories about the Holocaust were amazing to hear and experiencing the sheer scale of just these sites put the Holocaust in a new perspective for both of them.

"They felt that the personal stories of those who suffered was something which can often be overlooked when looking at the Holocaust as a whole.

"As a result they have decided, for their next steps, that they want to re-humanise the victims of the Holocaust."


Jake added: "If anyone is offered the opportunity to go on a visit like this they should.

"I will remember it for the rest of my life."


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