On Wednesday 29th April, two of our Yr13 History students had the opportunity to travel to Poland and visit the infamous Auschwitz concentration campas part of the Lessons From Auschwitz project. The following is a reflection of this experience by Josh.
It was an experience I will never forget and feel that as a result of the visit to Auschwitz I now have a greater interest in the Holocaust and how it has impacted on Jewish and German people, as an AS student studying Nazi Germany for History.
The experience of actually being there brought the reality of Auschwitz to life for me and made me appreciate the magnitude of what happened to the people in the camp. Standing in a place where so many men, women, and children were systematically slaughtered in such a cruel manner was an emotional experience which can fill you with dread at the thought of how these people lived with the fear of death every day for themselves or their family members.
Seeing the exhibits of the actual luggage, hair and shoes made me think about how many people were exterminated in the camp and knowing this was only one of many camps that the Nazis operated.
Seeing the camps brought home that it was more than just the gas chambers that were the horror of Auschwitz, but the conditions that the people had to live in during their time alive. For some death may have been a release from the starvation, cold, disease and hard labour that was the everyday experience.
I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to participate in the Lessons From Auschwitz Project, a project which is important to ensure that each generation know not just what a horrendous tragedy the Holocaust was but to feel the real tragedy of it by visiting the site of what will always be one of the most terrible examples of mankind’s inhumanity to its fellow mankind and hope that this will serve to make sure that something like this can never happen again.
Two very important things I brought away from the visit were how Jewish people must feel about the efforts to exterminate them as a race and religion but also how generations of German people feel about the association of their country with such a terrible event in history.
I now find myself with a greater appreciation for the subject and have broadened my understanding of this period of history which will help me in my preparation towards my exam in May. In addition, the trip provided the opportunity to meet new people across Northern Ireland.
Enniskillen Royal Grammar School