Never for­get the Holo­caust

Pupils hum­bled by Auschwitz visit

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

Two Trin­ity High pupils were left hum­bled by a trip to Auschwitz Birke­nau.

Sixth year stu­dents Olivia McLaren and Nathan McGar­vey were joined by other Scot­tish pupils on a spe­cial trip to Poland at the end of last month.

Auschwitz Birke­nau was part of the wider Auschwitz net­work of Na z i con­cen­tra­tion and ex­ter­mi­na­tion camps dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

It was a key part of the Nazi’s ‘fi­nal so­lu­tion’ which saw six mil­lion Jews and five mil­lion oth­ers mur­dered.

One in six Jews killed in the Holo­caust died at Auschwitz along with Poles, Ro­mani gyp­sies, Soviet pris­on­ers of war, ho­mo­sex­u­als and other di­verse na­tion­al­i­ties and re­li­gions.

Many of them were gassed in the mas­sive cham­bers.

Olivia and Nathan were there as part of the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project ahead of Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day in Jan­uary, which will have the theme ‘how can life go on?’

Both pupils are fo­cussed on en­sur­ing the lessons they learned from their visit are shared with the wider com­mu­nity. Olivia said: “It was an over­whelm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to visit both camps and I was very moved by the pho­tographs along the walls in Birke­nau Camp One which gave the names of the peo­ple, their dates of birth, the dates they en­tered the camp and the date they were mur­dered. This per­son­alised the ex­pe­ri­ence for me as the fig­ure of over two mil­lion mur­dered in Auschwitz alone is dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend.

“With each of the faces pic­tured I felt a per­sonal em­pa­thy and it has made me all the more de­ter­mined to share our ex­pe­ri­ence of the visit with the rest of Trin­ity pupils and also with our as­so­ci­ated pri­maries in the com­ing months ahead.”

Nathan added: “The images of Jewish peo­ple and their lives be­fore the Nazis showed fam­i­lies en­joy­ing life and made it a much more per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It was also very sober­ing to realise the breadth of vic­tims of Nazi per­se­cu­tion.

“From po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents to re­li­gious ad­her­ents and to those of the Ro­mani and Sinti com­mu­nity who also suf­fered at the hands of the Nazis.

“Olivia and I will de­cide very shortly the fo­cus and na­ture of our pre­sen­ta­tions to en­sure that those in our com­mu­nity we speak with will gain, at the very least, a deeper un­der­stand­ing of the ef­fects of Nazi per­se­cu­tion and the hope that this hor­ren­dous event is never re­peated.”

Lessons Olivia McLaren and Nathan McGar­vey with head teacher Peter Bollen

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