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VIDEO: Coming face to face with the horrors of Auschwitz
1:00pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
PUPILS from two schools in Warrington travelled to Auschwitz in Poland to visit the infamous death camps to make sure the lessons learnt from the Holocaust are never forgotten.
Four sixth pupils from Lymm High School and Bridgewater High School visited Auschwitz where 1.1 million Jews, 140,000 Poles, 23,000 Sinti and Roma gypsies and 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war from all over Europe were caged and killed from 1939 to 1945.
Lymm High School pupil Sam Green, who was visiting the camps for the first time, said: “You know what to expect but it’s impossible to predict how you are going to feel.
“I know that it’s something I have to see with my own eyes but I can’t tell you how I will react.”
The visit was part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project, which is funded by the Department for Education.
Based on the premise ‘that hearing is not like seeing’, 200-stong groups of students travel to the concentration and death camps in south west Poland.
The aim is to make sure the horrors that took place in the infamous corner of Poland are never forgotten by younger generations.
Ali Hannant, from Bridgewater High School, said the visit had been an intense experience.
Ali said: “I feel very weird. It’s very intense. You have a preconceived idea of what it’s going to be like but experiencing it firsthand is very different.
“I’m glad I came and saw it firsthand rather that hearing about it from everyone else.”
COMING face to face with the sickening horrors of the concentration camps in Poland is an experience that I will never forget in a hurry.
The enormity of what happened in Auschwitz, the site of one of the worst genocides the world has ever seen, hits you pretty quickly, gripping around your consciousness refusing to let go.
Knowing you are standing where wives were forcibly removed from their husbands’ sides, where children were murdered before they were old enough to talk, where families laid eyes on each other for the last time, riddles your mind with questions that will never be answered.
Trying to understand and find a response to the stark moral questions concerning the effects of prejudice and the witnesses who stood in silence while the unimaginable took place is an impossible challenge.
Like many, I knew the facts about what had taken place at the concentration camps.
But knowing there are kilos and kilos of human hair in Auschwitz is a lot different to witnessing it with your own eyes.
Seeing pairs upon pairs of shoes, pumps made for the tiniest of feet that fill the rooms from the floor to the ceiling, is not something you can ever be prepared for.
Countless toothbrushes, razors, hairbrushes once used by its owners to keep a pristine appearance lay in piles – confiscated by the Nazis on their arrival.
After all, why would the prisoners need them? There was no dignity allowed, no right to humanity.
The walls of the buildings in the concentration camps are filled with photos, evidence of inconceivable number of men, women and children who were incarcerated and murdered.
But there is one photo that stood out to me due to its unnerving resemblance to my younger brother.
My brother and I have always been very close and the thought of being torn apart, forced to live animals and die like vermin, unleashed an avalanche of emotions that left me speechless.
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