Honouring the victims of Auschwitz-Birkenau

Gracie Summers and Nat Mepham travelled to Poland as part of a national day trip with other schools to remember the victims of the Holocaust.

They left in the early hours of a Monday and returned home at midnight the next day so it was a very long day, but both agreed it was absolutely worth it.

The journey home “gave us time to absorb everything we had taken in”, said Gracie. When asked what had really stood out, it was that the victims, including women and children, instantly had their identities taken away with their heads being shaved and personal possessions and clothes removed. Of course, many of them didn’t survive.

Gracie and Nat attended a talk by a Rabbi at the ‘camp’ who said that if you were to do a minute’s silence for every person who died there, it would take two years!

They learned that of the 1.3 million people sent to Auschwitz, 1.1 million were murdered. The number of victims includes 960,000 Jews (865,000 of whom were gassed on arrival), 74,000 non-Jewish Poles, 21,000 Romani, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and up to 15,000 others.

For those who may not get the chance to go there, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum have produced some superb e-learning resources, and for those who have already visited, remote access to these materials will help in deepening the knowledge gained during the visit. E-learning can also be used as an aid in preparing visitors to the Memorial Site.

Jews arriving in Auschwitz from Hungary

Part of the exhibition

The railway approching the concentration camp

One of the cattle trains

Reconstrcuted block for detainees

A reconstructed SS Officer block
Published on 15th April 2024