Lessons of History

LESSONS learned In Auschwitz should change the world, say students who have walked In the footsteps of minions murdered by the Nazis.

St Mary’s Sixth Formers joined a group of 200 North West students on a pilgrimage to the former concentration camp in Poland which is still, for many people, the ultimate place of horror. They flew from Manchester to the place where at least a million Jews were gassed and starved during World War II. It is now preserved as a memorial to the dead and a reminder to the living of the evils of ethnic hatred. History students Joe McDowell, Charlotte Nugent and Jessica Eastwood have now shared their impressions of the day-long visit and feature in a video made by Wirral Globe journalists Stephanie Cureton and Dave Gennard. Joe, 17, said: ‘It’s as if everything was frozen and stopped when the Nazis left. There are no animals, no birds, everything is still. It’s all on such a human scale, the barracks, the buildings, and it makes you realise how easily it could happen again if we forget the past’ He added: ‘The question of ‘why’ was important to me. It is incomprehensible. I’m still trying to understand it.’ Charlotte said: ‘Auschwitz was shocking. It makes you realise that it’s not just a number, it actually happened. People should be able to see it for themselves so it doesn’t happen again.‘ Jessica added: ‘It was completely different to everything I had in my head. It was surreal, bizarre. Auschwitz is a little town with stone buildings and huge houses with grass in front of them. The worst bit was standing in Gas Chamber II. It was a very emotional place. You could almost hear what happened there. It was really horrible.’ The students walked through the huts, crematoria and rooms containing possessions left by the prisoners ~ thousands of pairs of shoes, suitcases and other items.