Students Reflect on their Visit to Auschwitz

8th December 2017

Two of our history students, Robyn Hendricks and Sophia Mikellides, recently participated in the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project. This project, run by the Holocaust Educational Trust, gives young people the opportunity to have a deepened understanding of the Holocaust, based on the premise that ‘hearing is not like seeing’.

Robyn and Sophia attended an educational seminar in London, followed by a trip to the camp itself in Poland. The students visited three sites, including the town centre, Birkenau and finally Auschwitz, where they heard from a Holocaust survivor who recounted their touching story.

Robyn says, “It was an amazing opportunity to visit Auschwitz and listen to a Holocaust survivor. I found Auschwitz to be particularly harrowing due to the many exhibitions, one of which featured piles of shoes of different styles and colours. It really made me think about all of the different people who were affected and their lives before the Holocaust.”

Sophia says, “Visiting Auschwitz was difficult to process, but deeply eye-opening. It was an amazing opportunity that I would recommend to anyone I know, as no description of the visit can do justice to feeling of experiencing it for yourself. Throughout the rest of my life I will think back to 14 November 2017 and remember the harrowing truths of the Holocaust in its entirety.”

Our history teacher, Christopher Harrison, says, “I am really proud that for another year, two of Richard Taunton’s history students were able to participate in the project. The lessons learned from the Auschwitz project is essential for allowing young people to realise the very real dangers of prejudice and discrimination. The project also links very well to the student’s ongoing studies of Democracy and Nazism, by providing excellent contextual knowledge, and an experience that everyone – even if you do not study history – should try and do at least once in their life.”

Robyn and Sophia are currently working on the ‘next steps’ aspect of the project and are in the midst of planning activities and events to educate other students on what they have learned.