November 2018: Auschwitz visit makes students determined to educate others

VISITING Auschwitz left students with a determination to foster a better understanding of the Holocaust to try to stop it happening again.

Year 13 Haslingden Sixth Form history and religious studies students Hannah Ormerod, Harry Ottley, Preston Brady and Beth Macdonald submitted essays to earn their places on the Holocaust Educational Trust trip.

They had to explain why they wanted to make the visit, what they wanted to get out of the trip and some ideas for a legacy to make sure that lessons were learnt.

Harry said: “I wanted to go so that I could pass on information to others that would be more than just a history lesson. I wanted others to be able to relate it to the modern day and the future to make sure that lessons are learnt from the Holocaust.”

They were all shocked when, as they were preparing for a meeting ahead of the trip, there was a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, America, which left 11 dead.

Beth said: “When I was at Auschwitz I was speechless. Not just at the scale of what happened but the whole atmosphere.

“I found it hard to walk through the different memorials and it was so silent. It definitely made what happened there more real to me.

“All people are human beings and there should not be this discrimination against individual people for whatever their beliefs are.

“It is shocking to think that humans are capable of doing something like this”

Preston is planning to study law at university and wants to work in human rights.

She said: “The most shocking part of visiting Auschwitz was seeing all the hair; human hair that had been used to make into rugs to sell and hair that when it was tested was found to have gas in it.

“Whilst there you are shocked, but when you come back home and think about what you have seen you can hardly believe it. It makes you more determined that people have got to change.”

They are planning to run a series of discussions with Year 10 and Year 12 students to ask what they know of the Holocaust and to explain and show what they saw and learnt to promote a better understanding.