The 27th January marks Holocaust Memorial Day, where we remember the victims of the Nazi Holocaust, alongside those who died in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Back in February 2018, two of our then-Y12 A level History students, Mica Grice and Millie Davis, visited Poland in a trip supported by the Auschwitz Memorial Trust to discover more. They were profoundly affected by their time at Auschwitz, and found it very difficult to process the magnitude of what happened. The visit allowed them to humanise the victims, putting faces to some of the millions killed, and was an informative experience.
“We got to see where the victims slept, worked and were killed in the gas chambers. We also got to see the victims most prized possessions, as they were told they were going to move away for a better life and took everything they owned, which was taken away from them when they arrived. The piles of shoes from tiny children and even more from the adults was shocking; it was very difficult to process something so big to imagine what happened during World War Two. The whole trip takes away the referring of the victims as collectively a statistic, because I saw people’s belongings and photographs; each victim had a family, a job, dreams and aspirations like we all do. I feel very lucky that I got to visit Auschwitz, even though it marks such a negative time in history. I think it’s important that people visit it to show that history cannot repeat itself and an extreme example of what human beings are capable of.”
“I found the whole visit to Auschwitz unlike anything I’ve done before. I feel as though the truth of the horror becomes a reality as soon as you step foot through the gates. It was an experience I don’t think I’ll ever forget, and I hope no one ever forgets. I think if anyone gets the chance to go they should, to see first-hand what millions experienced, and to try and feel a small part of what they must have done.”
Tonight, there will be a live memorial 7:00-8:00pm which can be streamed here. The theme is ‘light in the darkness’, and you are encouraged at 8:00pm to place a lit candle in your window as a mark of respect.