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Cookstown High School, Cookstown

Lessons from Auschwitz programme

6th Mar 2019

Yesterday two Year 13 History students, Adam and Cameron, and Mr Henderson had the opportunity to travel to Poland as part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz programme.

During the day the group of around 200 teachers and students from across Northern Ireland had the opportunity to visit the town of Oświęcim, renamed ‘Auschwitz’ by the Nazis during World War II, where they learned about the large and successful Jewish population that used to live there.

The group then travelled the short distance to Auschwitz I where a local tour guide provided an insight into the reality of life in the camps for those who would have been incarcerated there. During the tour, the group got a taste of the scale of destruction wreaked by the Holocaust with the numerous displays of glasses, shoes and other personal belongings that were removed from the victims.

From there, the group travelled to their third and final site, the extermination camp, Auschwitz II (Birkenau). In Auschwitz around 1.3 million people were killed during the Holocaust, of which around 90% were Jewish. It was a fitting end to the trip, therefore, for the group to take part in a memorial service conducted by a Rabbi, before each member of the group placed a candle of remembrance on the memorial to those who were murdered on that site and in countless other locations.