C McManus and A Duffy (both Year 12) represented Huxlow Science College on the “Lessons from Auschwitz” programme, run by the Holocaust Educational Trust. Based on the premise that 'hearing is not like seeing', this four-part course explores the universal lessons of the Holocaust and its relevance for today. It aims to increase knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust for young people and to clearly highlight what can happen if prejudice and racism become acceptable. Since 1999, over 28,000 students and teachers have taken part in the project.
The programme begins with a seminar where students hear a Holocaust survivor speak, learn about pre-war Jewish life and prepare for their visit to the former Nazi concentration and death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The students, accompanied by Mr D Sage, visited Poland on Wednesday 2nd March to view exhibits on pre-war Jewish life at Oswiecim, tour the site and museum at Auschwitz and Birkenau, and participate in a memorial service at the ruins of Crematoria II, Birkenau. This was followed by another seminar back in the UK, allowing them to reflect on the visit and the contemporary relevance of the lessons of the Holocaust. Huxlow students joined others from schools across the UK for the seminars and the visit to Poland. Their final task is to design and carry out a plan to spread the lessons and take action.
“This experience was completely life-changing for me and allowed me to see the world in a new light” said A Duffy. “Auschwitz was an extremely powerful experience for me and has influenced my views on life” added C McManus.