It’s Armistice Day – on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month we commemorate the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany, 1918. Not only do we think of the fallen soldiers who gave their lives for their country but all also the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust.
Two students from Stockton Sixth Form College embarked on a visit to Auschwitz concentration camp, in Oświęcim, Poland, last month as part of a ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project organised by The Holocaust Educational Trust. Sarah Blenkinsopp and Anna Smith, who study A Level History, were chosen to represent the college on this special trip in which they took part in a poignant memorial service during which they lit candles and laid them on the train tracks that brought so many desperate souls to the camps.
They visited Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau where they were shown, in groups, several barracks, registration documents of inmates, piles of hair, shoes, clothes and other items seized from the prisoners as they entered the camps. In addition they saw gas chambers and crematoria.
The project organisers say, “Based on the premise that ‘hearing is not like seeing’, this four-part course explores the universal lessons of the Holocaust and its relevance for today” and our students achieved a greater understanding of this history and how it still affects us now. Sarah said “It is interesting to see how we can still relate to what happened. In contemporary society we still see acts of bullying and discrimination. I think the quote, “The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again” by George Santayana holds a lot of meaning for today’s political and social climate. I think everyone should go to Auschwitz to see what it was like for themselves.”
We will be holding a two minute silence today at 11am to remember those killed in the two world wars and the 12,000 British servicemen killed or injured since 1945.