Auschwitz: Creating Hope From Disaster


 

Some of our College students recently participated in a course called ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ run by the Holocaust Educational Trust, here is their report:

We wanted to share with you both our experience of the event, and how our attitudes to such atrocities can help to prevent their re-occurence.

The Course Itself

The course comprised of three separate days on which the students participating met, with the key part of the course being a visit to some of the camps and sites of the holocaust in Poland, including Auschwitz. As the visit only took up one day it was as fast paced as you would expect in order to fit in such a large amount of content and places into such a short amount of time. However, there was still plenty of time for reflection on what we had witnessed, which was vital for us to gather our thoughts and establish an emotional connection with what we were seeing, especially when we were experiencing such poignant and moving things.

Reflections

Primarily, the course encouraged us to humanise those involved in the holocaust, including, challengingly, the perpetrators as well as the victims. Although this seems perhaps the opposite of what you would expect, the idea behind it is to encourage thinking about the event as a human catastrophe rather than an emotionless event detailed in history books. In this way, ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’, aptly named, encouraged us to apply this thinking in the¬†current day to prevent the re-occurrence of similar atrocities. The focus of this year – ‘Don’t stand by’ – is what we would like to emphasise to you. In all conflicts we see today, by humanising all of those involved and by actively participating in issues that resonate with you personally, it becomes easier to work towards and foster peace and development.