Nigel Adams MP and four students from the Selby District returned from the Holocaust Educational Trust’s visit to the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau on 3rd March vowing to act on lessons learned from the experience.
Nigel joined more than 200 post-16 students from across Yorkshire and Humber on the Project. It was a unique opportunity to learn what happened at Auschwitz-Birkenau, to pay respect to those murdered by the Nazis, and to explore what happened during the Holocaust and its relevance for today. The students will now use the experience to commemorate and educate others about the Holocaust within their schools and local communities.
Now in its sixteenth year, the Government funded project is based on the premise that “hearing is not like seeing”. On the visit, students first visited Oświęcim, the town where the Nazi concentration and death camp was located and where, before the war, 58% of the population was Jewish. Students then visited Auschwitz I to see the former camp’s barracks and crematoria and witnessed the piles of belongings that were seized by the Nazis. Finally they spent time at the main killing centre of Birkenau where the day concluded with candle lighting and a period of reflection to remember the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust and the other victims of Nazi persecution.
The visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau was preceded by a seminar in the UK where participants were introduced to Jewish life in Europe before the Second World War and heard the testimony of a Holocaust survivor. Following the visit, the students will attend a seminar to reflect on the visit and discuss their personal responses to it. The fourth part of the project requires all students to pass on what they have learned in their schools and wider community, becoming Ambassadors for the Holocaust Educational Trust. They are supported by the Trust’s Ambassador Programme. In this way, as many people as possible benefit from the Lessons from Auschwitz Project.
Government funding has enabled the Trust to facilitate regional visits to Auschwitz, as part of its Lessons from Auschwitz Project, for thousands of students each year.
Nigel Adams MP commented: “It is impossible to overstate the importance of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and of recognising the full extent of how the Nazis murdered people on an industrial scale
I am pleased that students from the Selby district were able to join the trip and I look forward to seeing how the students will communicate their experience to their peers and their community. I hope that this will ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten and that its lessons are truly learnt, disseminated and acted upon.”
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: “We are delighted that Nigel joined us on the visit with students from his constituency. The Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project is such a vital part of our work because it allows young people to learn about the Holocaust in a way they cannot in the classroom. The Holocaust was a defining episode in history, and this visit enables young people to see for themselves where racism, prejudice and antisemitism can ultimately lead.”
For further information about the Holocaust Educational Trust, please visit their website www.het.org.uk