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Lessons from Auschwitz

Date Posted: 03/11/2016 | Posted In: Latest news

Four QE students have just returned from a very moving visit to Auschwitz. The College’s History department organises participation for two to four students on the Lessons from Auschwitz Project each year. The students awarded a place on this year’s project were George Lonsdale, Rebecca Carr, Aden Paul and Chloe Umpleby and they were accompanied by History teacher, James Stubbs. The project has 4 stages. First is an orientation seminar in Newcastle, where students have the opportunity to speak with a holocaust survivor and discuss the implications of visiting such a place as Auschwitz. The second stage is the one day visit to 3 sites in Poland: the old Jewish quarter of the old town, Auschwitz 1 and finally Auschwitz 2. Thirdly, students are asked to attend a debrief seminar where they have the opportunity to discuss the visit and confirm their follow up activities. The final stage is for them to spread the knowledge and understanding they have learned from participating in the trip. This year, the QE students will present to the College’s History Club, speak to students at Sedgefield Community College and participate in events planned for Holocaust Memorial Day on the 27th of January.

The benefits to the students are many. They gain a much more personal account/experience of what happened at Auschwitz which, whilst harrowing, provides a deeper understanding of the atrocities committed. Reflecting on his visit, George comments “Auschwitz serves as a physical reminder of the extremes of human nature.” Chloe and Aden add, “The first thing that struck us about Auschwitz was its scope. Only by visiting the site could we have known the sheer scale of the mass murder committed. Society is ever more in danger of slipping backwards into this madness. This is certainly an experience which will resonate with us for life.”

The students are given the chance to network with other history students from around the region while participating on this project. Such teamwork, especially when planning and delivering events to cascade what they have learned from the Lessons from Auschwitz project, also effectively develops the students’ employability and personal skills.