Year 11 students saw poignant memorials to victims of the Holocaust and spoke to a survivor during a trip to the Beth Shalom Museum near Nottingham. The museum has tranquil gardens, a pond and sculptures alongside exhibits detailing some of the stories of those who died in the concentration camps.
The trip was organised by citizenship teacher Ms Martin who said: ‘It went exceptionally well. The students really grasped the seriousness of the day and were impeccably behaved. The memorial garden was a big hit with the students with many returning to it throughout the day. The museum is very much living history and you hear a lot of the voices of people telling you what happened, right from Nazi commanders giving evidence at trials through to survivors themselves. There is a beautiful family tree as you go in and a lot of personal stories.
‘We met Ruth David, a survivor who left Germany during the Kindertransport years. After the war, she found that her parents had both died in Auschwitz. She had a brother who had been sent to Argentina, one who had been sent to America, a sister in the south of England (she was in the north) and a brother and sister who had been hidden in Paris. It was very sad because they never managed to get all six of them together again after the war.
‘She also read us the last letter that her mother sent her before she was sent to Auschwitz. It was incredibly moving. The details she gave us about how bad life in Germany was, even before the war started, were also excellent for giving students the understanding that the Holocaust was not simply about the killing of Jews but about the total annihilation of their culture. She was very positive about our students afterwards saying that they were one of the most attentive audiences that she had ever had. She was impressed by their questions and their prior knowledge about the Holocaust and the situation in Germany before the war.’