Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52Lessons from Auschwitz “An experience unparalleled to anything I’ve ever felt before” What struck me the most about the entirety of my whole experience was simply my lack of understanding. Now that is an odd statement to make for someone who has been on such a rigorous journey, but what it does portray is how much I have grown from this experience. T owards the start of this process I knew only what my textbooks had taught me about the holocaust, not to mention Auschwitz, meaning my outlook had been completely changed after the visit. Nonetheless, what stood out for me the most were the survivors’ testimonies and how they went on to help to further reduce the suffering of future conflicts, for example, the Bosnian and Rwandan crises. Their determination and drive inspired me to conduct a lecture to my year, 120 pupils and 7 staff members, where I asked them to understand the consequences of the institutional dehumanizing of the Jewish people. A key quote that I circled back to during my presentation was from Primo Levi: “Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.” This quote underpinned my presentation and set the tone for the journey I wanted to take my colleagues on. My presentation included the works of Nazis such as Dr. Mengele, Rudolf Höss and Hans Frank whose crimes against humanity were inevitably punished— minus Dr. Mengele. The Next Steps Programme allowed me to share the truth of the past in a constructive manner, but still gave me the knowledge to provide some ‘healing’ to my colleagues. After the harsh reality of what had transpired I voiced the fact that their suffering was not in vain: for the amount of education that they had bestowed upon future generations provided them with strong morality and, hopefully, a reason to never commit such atrocious crimes ever again. The true tragedy of the Holocaust was the inability to directly mourn the losses of loved ones, which we now take for granted. The idea of a dignified funeral was uncommon at best in Auschwitz and as a part of my talk I raised this point. At the end of the presentation I had one last reminder of how even now we can still remember those who either lost their lives fighting against or suffered under the tyranny of Auschwitz. I purchased a painted canvas and had painted the Star of David, with the words “We will never forget” written in red at the bottom. However, instead of filling the star of David with the traditional yellow paint I asked if every student who had learnt something, or wanted to show their respect, would dip their thumb/finger in the paint and help fill in the Star. Eventually the Star was filled in with unique fingerprints. T o me this was the perfect example of unity and the portrait will hang in the 1st Floor (Margaret Street) in the Council House as soon as arrangements for its transportation have been made. Tukeer Hussain Lessons from Auschwitz At the end of the presentation I had one last History has shown us that Genocide has occurred throughout the centuries for example most recently in Rwanda and the Sudan. However the Holocaust, the most infamous Genocidal event, has become synonymous with the definition of Genocide and acts as a continual reminder of why these horrific events need to be stopped. The Holocaust is “the sum total of all anti-Jewish actions carried out by the German regime between 1933 and 1945: from stripping the German Jews of their legal and economic status in the 1930s, to segregating and starving Jews in the various occupied countries, to the murder of close to six million Jews in Europe. The Holocaust is part of a broader aggregate of acts of oppression and murder of various ethnic and political groups in Europe by the Germans.” (Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Memorial Centre.) However, the death of 6 million people is but a mere figure to us unless we can contextualise it and learn about individuals and their story, because only once we begin to grasp some of the horrors can we start to replicate this on a larger scale. The Holocaust Educational Trust runs initiatives across the UK to educate people about the Holocaust and to ensure it is never forgotten. One way is through the Lessons From Auschwitz project, which Tukeer and I attended this year. This project involves attending two seminars and a day trip to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau (Auschwitz II). The first seminar provides background knowledge to the holocaust and the events of it. This included meeting a survivor and hearing their story and experience of the holocaust, an eye opening experience, which I shall never forget. The second seminar was a follow up to the Auschwitz visit, where we discussed what we saw on the day and how it made us feel and what we can do to raise awareness of the holocaust as an ambassador. As ambassadors we help to raise awareness of genocides and the Holocaust in school through assemblies, a workshop and this article. This is because we feel that it is our responsibility to educate our peers, because they are the next generation, the people who will be going out into the world and making a difference which could help to prevent further genocides in the future. My recent appointment as one of 65 Regional Ambassadors across the UK is allowing me to further my own knowledge and share this with other people. This involves working with holocaust survivors and co-ordinating events to share the message we take from the holocaust; that these horrific events can and must never happen again. We need to learn from the mistakes in history and stop genocide once and for all. Josef Feiven 18 TRIPS AND VISITS