Thursday 6th September 2007 by C. Freeman
Year 9 Humanities students at Brooke Weston saw a powerful presentation about the notorious Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Teacher, Peter Tiktin visited the site in Poland and he shared his experiences with the students.
Students saw the infamous entrance to Auschwitz, its iron arch inscribed with 'Arbeit Macht Frei' as well as the entrance to Birkenau (known as Auschwitz II), constructed as an extermination centre where there was just a single huge brick entrance for railway carriages which transported prisoners to their deaths.
Mr Tiktin, who had a family member who survived Auschwitz, said: 'It's a very difficult subject to tackle with students, but these events took place just over 60 years ago, but to young people it's like ancient history. This hopefully has given them an insight into what actually happened there.'
Auschwitz was founded in May 1940 and liberated by the Soviet Army in January 1945. In 1947 Poland set up the camp in memory of all those who died. Poignant displays include thousands of suitcases and spectacles gathered from the victims and the whole site is covered in fine, white dust, a legacy of the crematoria.
While it is hard for the authorities to estimate how many people actually perished in Auschwitz, Jews, gypsies and Soviet prisoners of war were all among the victims. A memorial plaque at the site reads: 'For ever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity where the Nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women and children, mainly Jews, from various countries of Europe.'