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Two Sixth form students travelled to Poland as part of the Lessons from Auschwitz programme - read about it here.

Ruby and Zoe applied to be part of the Lessons From Auschwitz programme which involves 200 students from across the South West working with the Holocaust Education Trust  preparing to become ambassadors, both at their school and the wider community. 

Ruby and Zoe attended an initial orientation seminar in Exeter to prepare them for a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps in Poland. 

"The students were introduced to stories of life before the Holocaust and listened to a testimony from Mala Tribich, a survivor of a concentration camp," explained Miss Hill, Social Sciences Curriculum Assistant, who accompanied the students to Poland.
"The next step of the programme was a very emotional one-day visit to Poland on 1 March 2017.

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"After landing in Krakow the group firstly travelled to the town of Oswiecim, renamed as Auschwitz by Germany during World War Two.

"Here the group congregated on the ground where the Great Synagogue once stood before it was destroyed and the Jews in the town were deported to the camps, with the rest of the Jewish community from across Europe.

"From there we travelled to Auschwitz I camp – a former two-storey brick military barracks and then Auschwitz II Birkenau a purpose-built extermination camp, now a museum and memorial to the 1.2 m Jews who died there.  ‘’However prepared you think you are, during the six hours spent in Auschwitz, the images of the buildings, conditions, photos, and exhibits together with  stories that we were told by the guides only raised further questions in our heads as to why this genocide of the Jews and other victim groups occurred.  This experience will be with us for a very long time.

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"At the end of the tour we lit candles and laid them on the train tracks in poignant silence, as part of a Jewish memorial service, giving us time to reflect on the day’s experience.
"On our return, we attended a follow up seminar in Exeter on 6 March where students discussed and reflected on the emotions of the visit.
‘’I am working with the girls to make a presentation to History students back in the College and it felt wrong to be taking photographs of some of the exhibits – masses of personal possessions and clothing, sensitivity and respect had to be shown throughout the visit."


Zoe: "By attending the camps we gained first-hand experience which stressed the importance of allowing us to have the opportunity to become ambassadors for the Holocaust Education Trust."

Ruby: "The visit is important because of the humane perspective and the emotional attachment of seeing the conditions, which were heart-breaking."

Over the next couple of months Zoe and Ruby will spending time sharing their experience with the College by making a presentation to History teachers and also inviting a Holocaust survivor to speak to students.  They will also be involved with planning events for Holocaust Memorial Day next year and inviting all departments within the College to get involved in some way.


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Stoke Damerel News Archive 2016-17


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