Holocaust Memorial Assemblies
These were led by members of the history department and delivered to all year groups in the school over the week. The theme this year was ‘How can life go on? - The Holocaust’. During the assemblies key terms such as ‘Holocaust’ and ‘genocide’ were fully explained.
Students were then told the story of one Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, originally from Romania, who managed to survive the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau. He must have been very resilient as he also survived one of the notorious ‘death marches’ from Auschwitz as he finally ended up in Buchenwald Concentration Camp, and it was here that he was liberated by the Americans. Unusually, Elie’s two older sisters, Beatrice and Hilda, also survived and, after the war, they all found each other again. Sadly, Elie died last year at the age of 88.
One of the many inspiring things Elie said about his experiences was this: For the survivor, death is not the problem. Death was an everyday occurrence. We learned to live with death. The problem is to adjust to life, to living. You must teach us about living.
And this was the theme of the rest of the assembly, bringing the Holocaust up to date, looking at modern genocides in Darfur and Rwanda, and also looking at prejudice and discrimination in our society, looking at a brief film introduced by Bea Green. The key message from Bea and the film was that social courage means taking responsibility for yourself and for others. Let us learn lessons from the past and be the example to others.
Holocaust Memorial Lecture
A group of fifteen staff and Year 12 students attended this annual lecture organised by the University of Wolverhampton. The lecture theatre was packed with academics and students from the university, local politicians and dignitaries such as the Mayor and Mayoress. Ours was only one of two schools who attended the lecture. The lecture was given by Dame Stephanie Shirley, a Holocaust survivor who came to England with her sister at the age of five. Dame Shirley was transported to the UK as part of the Kinder Transport Programme, a British initiative aimed at rescuing Jewish children before the outbreak of the Second World War.
If you would like to know more about the inspirational story of Dame Stephanie please visit:
By Rosa Lewis
We were given the opportunity to attend a Holocaust lecture, presented by Dame Stephanie Shirley, at Wolverhampton University last Thursday. The lecture covered Dame Shirley’s experience as a five year old Jewish child fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany with her older sister on the Kinder Transport (a scheme devised to help children escape the atrocities committed under Hitler’s regime). It was incredibly striking to hear her first-hand account, and gave a new perspective to what we had previously only studied in text books. Perhaps the lecture was made more moving and poignant through the links Dame Shirley made between those who escaped the Holocaust during World War II and the refugee crisis the world is witnessing today. She argued that there is no difference between the two groups, and that the refugees of today should be treated with the same compassion as the children on the Kinder Transport were treated with.
By Natalie Ward
To have the opportunity to attend the Holocaust memorial lecturer enabled me to have a deeper insight into the life of children who were forced out of their home and into other countries as refugees. I found the speech given by Dame Stephanie Shirley to be truly inspirational as she spoke about her life transformation into a British citizen and also the lives of her family members.
To be able to get up and speak to a hall full of people about her experience made me realise how grateful I should be for the life I’ve been given. From the trip I learned about how children would have been sent away from their parents to homes in which they would have been brought up by foster parents and I also learned about the sacrifices that many of these children would have to do. For example, Dame Stephanie Shirley had to sell the camera her parents sent her with. It was a very emotional and inspirational speech.
Webinar with Holocaust Survivor Mala Tribich
From Manpreet Ghuman, 10O
On Friday I had the privilege of learning the story of Ms Tribich, a Holocaust survivor of the Second World War.
Ms Tribich was one of around 60,000 prisoners freed from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp by soldiers from the 11th Armoured Division in the later stages of World War 2.
In the live stream, Ms Tribich explained to us what happened to her and her family. This taught everyone listening that family is important, and to treasure the happy memories because life can change drastically in a matter of hours.
One lesson that I will always remember is that you should never give up. This may be in the fight for justice or even to achieve your goal. Your story will inspire others around you.
From Jack Bowen, 10R
On Friday 27th January I was lucky enough to attend a webinar in school hosted by Mala Tribich, a Holocaust survivor. During the webinar we heard about her experiences in the ghetto during Nazi occupation, her seperation from her family, and the brutal murder of her young Jewish cousin. She also talked about the conditions she experienced within the concentration camps, the children’s ward she was in whilst battling typhus, and how she felt when she was liberated in 1945.
What was really poignant and touching was her answer to the question ‘how will life go on?’ (the theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Week). She talked about how we must challenge hate and prejudice at all costs in order to prevent evil happening again.
Holocaust Memorial Day Badges
The History department led the whole-school reflection on the Holocaust to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 which was observed last Friday. Every year on the 27th January we pause to remember the suffering and millions of lives lost during the Second World War as a result of the mass genocide led by the Nazi regime in Germany. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust provided each student with a sticker to promote Holocaust Memorial Day, teacher of English Mr D Smith and Year 11 history student Jordan Butler are pictured.