February 2017: Auschwitz visit sparks lesson in school

AN EMOTIONAL journey to Auschwitz had a lasting effect on A-level history students John Fielding and Matthew Nuttall.

The 18-year-olds from Haslingden High School travelled to the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp in Poland as part of a visit organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust. They also met with a Holocaust survivor.

As part of the trip, both agreed to share their experience with others and they have posted blogs that have been shared on the school’s Facebook page. They also organised a lesson for a Year 11 History GCSE group.

John said: “We got them to think about why and who was responsible and the questions that remain unanswered.”

John went on a Battlefields trip in 2014 and is now planning to study History at Leeds or Edinburgh University.

He said: “I think at some point in everyone’s lives they should go to Auschwitz, there are still lessons we can all learn from what happened.

“Everyone takes something different away from Auschwitz; for me it was the fence and the fact it is still there after all that time. It is such a symbol of entrapment almost like an animal trapped in a cage and all the guard towers, there was no escape.

“It is like time stood still and you can still imagine the SS guards in their black uniforms. There is an emotional emptiness, you don’t feel happy, sad or anxious; there is just no emotion at all.

“As a history student, it is a topic we study, but it actually becomes real and is no longer on the pages of a text book when you visit and walk there.

“There were letters written by people in Auschwitz and they were addressed to the ‘Free World in the future’. We are now that ‘Free World’ and it is up to us to take their messages and tell them to everyone.

“I think there is something everyone takes away  from there, not just respect for the victims, but a life lesson.

“The Holocaust is not a thing of the past; there has been genocide since.”