On Wednesday, 3rd and Friday, 5th December Year 9 visited Beth Shalom Holocaust Memorial Centre at Laxton near Newark. Several of the boys wrote movingly about the experience and what follows is a collection of their thoughts as a consequence of the visit.
"As we left school and boarded the bus I thought I knew what we were in for. Though I had previously visited a large exhibition in London’s Imperial War Museum, Beth Shalom still shocked me."
"On arrival at the centre the true sadness of the place really seemed to hit us all in different ways. We went from a rowdy bus journey to being almost instantly engaged in reading the placards. Each placard was dedicated to a single person who had lost their life at this time in history."
"The first thing that struck me as we got off the bus was the flowerbed, seeded with small memorials to the Holocaust victims. To think there were 6,000,000 who died really struck a nerve."
"Next we went inside and watched an alarming film about Darfur. This short video really opened my eyes to a subject that I knew little about. It was intended to really explain that genocide can happen anywhere and it wasn’t just about the Holocaust."
"It shocked me to know there are more people waiting to kill off a race for their own satisfaction, and it disposed of my naïve views that because the war was over, genocide was over forever as well."
"We then watched a film about Holocaust survivor. Arek Hersch. Arek was only 10 when he entered his first concentration camp and the video showed us the ghetto in which he was forced to live."
"Arek had recently gone back to his old home in Poland and to the remains of the death camps. This was deeply moving because I had no idea how may Jews were moved about to different camps before being killed."
"Next we moved on to the exhibition itself., which was very interesting with models of concentration camps and the stories of some of the people who had died there."
"After lunch we had an eye-opening walk around the garden and placed a stone on a pile of over 100,000 stones which represented all the children who had died in the Holocaust. The estimated number of stones needed is 1.5 million. They predict it will take another hundred years to achieve this goal."
"We then returned to the hall and met Arek Hersch (the star of the video) who survived Auschwitz. As we asked him questions his answers were shocking and some were disturbing, though as I sat there I thought about just how brave the Jews were and I had great admiration for Arek and all the other survivors."
"The visit to Beth Shalom was a very memorable and informative experience. I enjoyed the visit and it has changed the way I view the Holocaust forever."
James Grogan (9W), Christian Cummings (9W), Ben Gates (9W), Tom Kent (9W), Mike Henderson (9W), Josh Winter (9W)