Our Lower Sixth students went on a trip to Auschwitz this year as part of their role as Holocaust Ambassadors. Here's what they had to say about their visit and what they learned.
Louis Bond: "The site of the camp was much larger than I had ever expected. Much of the camp was destroyed, but there were the cabin like structures at the front of the complex which were tiny in comparison to the number of people who were forced to stay in them. At the rear of the camp of Auschwitz Birkenau stood the administration building, where the people who were kept in the camp had to be processed. During this, the possessions of the victims of the Holocaust were taken. Looking through the items on display, I was taken aback when I saw a single house key. For me, this reflects an intent to go back to their very own home, when that wasn’t really a possibility for the victims of the Holocaust."
Joshua Lim: "During the March 13th day trip to Poland, I could see that everyone was affected differently. For me, there was a particular sense of emptiness and detachment even though prior to the visit I thought it would be much more emotive as opposed to just reading about the concentration camps in a textbook or online. The constant silence throughout the day gave a very sombre and serious tone particularly in Auschwitz I and I thought that the first camp was much more intimidating and overwhelming than Birkenau even though it was a re-purposed military base whereas Auschwitz-Birkenau was purpose built as a death camp.
I think that the experience in Poland would not have been the same without the two seminars on either side of the trip. The first seminar not only allowed us to meet the people and fellow students that we would be spending the day with but it also prepared us for what we were going to see, the testimony from the Holocaust survivor Marla Tribich especially made a lot of us realise exactly what we were going to experience and what these camps were like. After Poland, the second and final seminar was the best opportunity to express and share our thoughts with the rest of our group and it was interesting to hear what others’ thought of the day and how it affected them."
Lucy Wagg: "For me personally, I found the trip to Poland particularly moving. The intensity of each room and the mass displays of belongings impacted me significantly. Although I knew the number of holocaust victims, I had never understood the number of individual holocaust victims, and by seeing the piles of belongings, and the amount of hair, the actually number of those effected became apparent to me. Overall, the visit to Poland was very powerful, moving and made the true story of the holocaust and the individuals involved clear."
Below is a video that our students put together documenting their visit.
Some photographs from their visit.