TWO sixth formers from Barry Comprehensive have taken part in a Holocaust awareness project culminating in an educational visit to Auschwitz.
John Frazer and Gareth Hurman, participated in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project.
Through the project, students take part in two half-day seminars and a one-day visit to the former Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz - Birkenau. Students then pass on the lessons that they learn about the Holocaust and its relevance to today in their schools and communities.
The four part course started with an orientation seminar in Cardiff where the students listened to a touching and inspiring testimony of a Holocaust survivor.
Eva Clarke told the audience how her parents had been sent by the Nazis to Terezin and later Auschwitz - Birkenau.
The audience heard how Eva was born in Mauthausen concentration camp on April, 29 1945 and that, if the gas chambers hadn’t been destroyed on April 28 and the American army hadn’t liberated the camp three days after her birth, neither mother nor child would have survived.
Eva and her mother were the only survivors of their family, 15 of who were killed in Auschwitz, her father being shot less than a week before the liberation by the Russian army.
John and Gareth then travelled to Poland with other students from all over Wales, beginning their visit at the only surviving synagogue in the Polish town of Oswiecim. where they met with Rabbi Barry Marcus, the founder of the project.
The group was then taken to Auschwitz and then Auschwitz - Birkenau. Seeing the remnants of barracks, crematoria and gas chambers had a great impact on the students.
The exhibition of photos of the victims’ lives before the war added to this, serving as a reminder that the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust were individuals with stories of their own.
The tour of Birkenau was concluded with a memorial service led by Rabbi Marcus after which students lit memorial candles and placed them along the railway track as a final mark of respect to those who died, and to mark the end of their trip.