Students Learn Lessons from Auschwitz

During the past term, students from Sir John Talbot’s School have had numerous opportunities to learn more about one of the more harrowing aspects of our recent history – the Holocaust. From a school-based talk from Holocaust survivor Chaim Henry Ferster to a moving four-day trip to Poland for members of the Sixth Form, the students have had many chances to discover more about these terrible events outside of the classroom.

For two individuals at the school, the educational experience has been even more intense. Joining the ground-breaking Lessons from Auschwitz Project, Sixth Form students Declan Austin and Rebeca Rogers have attended seminars and even taken part in a moving memorial service during a whirlwind 24-hour trip to the death camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Since 1999, over 28,000 students and teachers have taken part in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project. Based on the premise that ‘hearing is not like seeing’, the focus behind the course is to explore the universal lessons that can be learnt from the Holocaust and to highlight what can happen if prejudice and racism are accepted and allowed to proliferate.

The project is comprised of four sections, all of which are compulsory for those taking part.

Declan and Rebeca started the course with a half-day orientation seminar in Birmingham, where, alongside the other participants, they learnt more about pre-war Jewish life, heard first-hand testimony from a Holocaust survivor and discussed the unique considerations that must be taken into account when preparing for a Holocaust-related site visit.

The second part of the programme saw Declan and Rebeca heading off for a one-day visit to Poland. Here, the participants toured several Holocaust sites and museum exhibits, with both a local guide and a trained LFA educator.  After a poignant and affecting visit to a Jewish graveyard and a tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp, the students finished the day by participating in an emotional memorial service in front of the International Monument at Birkenau.

Back in Britain, their journey continued with a half-day seminar during which participants were given the opportunity to reflect on the visit, explore the contemporary relevance of the lessons of the Holocaust and devise practical ideas for passing on the lessons they learnt to their school and local community.

Louise Morcumb, who tutors the students at the school, commented, “Lessons from Auschwitz is such a life-changing experience. The students not only learn a great deal about the Holocaust, but also share that knowledge with younger members of the school as part of their ‘next steps project’.  Passing on such knowledge is the only way to help others learn from history. By participating in this programme, the students are doing their part to ensure the next generation do not ignore prejudice, but speak out against discrimination, both within in their local communities and across the world as a whole.”

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Posted by marchesadmin on 11th March 2016, under Uncategorized


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