Mr McKenzie, Curriculum Leader, Social Subjects, reflects and reports on the ‘Lessons From Auschwitz.’
On 9th November, two of our senior pupils, Jayanti Bista and Kelsey Wallace, visited the town of Oswiecim in Poland and Auschwitz Concentration Camp. This was part of their journey in becoming Ambassadors for the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Programme. Prior to their visit to Auschwitz, Jayanti and Kelsey took part in a workshop with other senior pupils from across Scotland. The focus of the workshop was placing the Holocaust in its historical context and to explore the themes of prejudice, discrimination and persecution. The visit to Auschwitz provided Kelsey and Jayanti with the opportunity to explore and learn about a site of mass murder and to reflect on why it’s important to study and learn from the Holocaust. On their return, they attended another workshop which allowed them to reflect on and explore their thoughts and feelings with their peers, and to work on how they would share their visit with their school community. Jayanti and Kelsey delivered an excellent assembly to the rest of the school to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in January this year.
The experiences of both pupils can be summed up by Jayanti in her reflective piece of writing: “This has been the most moving and memorable experience of my life which I will never forget. I’m glad I took the chance to take part in LFA. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with others and how I felt being in Auschwitz-Birkenau and to ensure that people are aware of the outcomes of prejudice, racism and anti-Semitism. It has taught me what racism and antisemitism can do if it goes too far along with the real meaning of life and how we need to appreciate what we have and spread love not hate. We need to be careful of what we say and do. We are free, something that the victims of the holocaust never were, and we need to learn to appreciate our life and family and everything we have and everyone around us. This day will stay with me forever.”