Poland was a life changing experience, everyone knows what went on in the Holocaust but going there and experiencing it took our understanding to a whole new level. From the minute we got there the temperature was completely different from the UK and throughout the duration of the trip it was snowing. When we visited Auschwitz, one of the concentration camps, we realised the awful conditions they must have been in. Not only when out in the open, but within the sheds they had for shelter. By being able to walk in their footsteps, we were able to extend our understanding and realise the hardships they faced every day once there. Before we went there we were asked to collect a stone each, this was to represent how we would never forget and it is seen in Poland and across that area as a sign of respect and remembrance. At the end of the tour of the second camp we laid them down on the English memorial plaque to show our respect and understanding for the tragedy and loss these people faced on a daily basis. From this trip alone we learnt the full extent as to what actually happened and got an insight from genuine people who had lost relatives because of it.
When we got back, we found it difficult to put our experience into words when talking to people who did not go there. The mixed reactions to what we had seen made it difficult for others to understand what we saw and what we experienced. By sharing our experiences with the rest of the school it feels as though we are passing on a message. The more people that know about the tragic events that happened during the Holocaust, the less likely it is to happen again.
For Holocaust Memorial Day, the message this year is to build a bridge in your community and pledge to make a difference.
The aim was to think about a little change you can make within your community, family or friendship group. We feel that this is a good thing ,as it make people realise that one small change can have a massive impact and a knock on effect which applies to everyone and everything in your life.
By Beckie and Gemma