On, Monday 8th October The Wilnecote School took Key Stage Four Humanities students to the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre near Newark in Nottinghamshire. Students from years Nine, Ten and Eleven spent all day looking around the centre and learnt new information about the Holocaust.
We started the day listening to Holocaust survivor Eva Clarke speak about the experiences of her family during the 1930s and 1940s. Eva was born in Mauthausen camp (in Austria) in harrowing circumstances. She explained the growing discrimination against Jews experienced by her parents, and how her mother survived the Holocaust. Photos of her family brought her talk to life and personalised the horror of Nazi antisemitism and the mass murders of the prison camps. Her talk absorbed our students and asked many questions about her life and story
The Beth Shalom centre features beautiful rose gardens planted in honour of holocaust victims and a memorial to children killed in the Shoah (a Hebrew word for the Nazi killing and persecution). Our students added stones to this memorial following the Jewish tradition of leaving stones to remember the dead.
To finish the day, the students went round the centre’s museum which examines the life of the Jewish community in Europe before the Nazi rise to power, the early dehumanisation of Jews and the experiences in ghettoes and then in concentration and death camps. Our teachers helped interpret the exhibits and linked them to the work we do in our curriculum in RE and history.The trip to Beth Shalom was a reflective, thoughtful and educational day all about the Holocaust and how it affected people and still affects them to this day. Students said “The day was inspiring and made me realise how lucky we are.”, “It made me realise that all the six million victims had their own stories and that they’re more than a number.”, “From listening to Eva’s story it showed me how terrible it was.”
A big thank you to Mr Grant for all his time in organising the trip, and to the other teachers who helped guide our students around for the day.