ST JOSEPH’S Academy S6 pupils Connor Gallagher and Samantha Bolland were part of a group that visited Auschwitz.
Here they report on their experience for the Kilmarnock Standard:
FOR nearly 10 years now the ‘Learning from Auschwitz Project’ has been running in order to teach younger generations about the terrible events that took place during the Holocaust – a period where between 11 and 17million people were murdered under the Nazi regime for not falling into the criteria that made them part of the ‘elite’ German race.
The LFA project takes S6 pupils from every school in Scotland to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, in order for them to see for themselves evidence of these terrible crimes against humanity.
In Auschwitz I, which was generally used for non-Jewish victims, we were shown rooms in which personal belongings were displayed in massive glass cabinets.
This made the statistics and stories about the Holocaust much more vivid and personal. We were then shown the house of Rudolf Höss, the Nazi commandant of the camps, who lived near the camp with his wife and children.
At Auschwitz II – Birkenau – the main killing centre, the impact that we both felt from the sheer size of the camp was massive.
Birkenau was built to last and was capable of wiping out a staggering number of people. We walked the length of the camp, viewing various exhibitions and listening to readings about survivors and camp inmates.
The two massive gas chambers constructed on an industrial scale were destroyed by the Nazis before the camp was liberated.
At the end of our visit we took part in a remembrance ceremony lead by Rabbi Marcus. He taught us how important it is not to forget about the Holocaust and how remembrance of it can help in our day to day lives.
We feel that it has opened our eyes about how judging people by their race, religion and personal beliefs can lead to such indescribable horror and we feel it’s really important to share what we have learned with other pupils in the hope that history will never repeat itself.