A group of New College students visited Poland during the Easter break as part of their continuing learning activities centred around the Holocaust. Students had previously visited the Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum and heard from a visiting speaker whose family was in Poland at the time of the Holocaust.
On the first day, students were given a tour of Krakow, seeing the Jewish Quarter and the remains of the ghettos. Subsequent days were spent visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps and the salt mines.
One of the students, Chloe Brown, explains that visiting the camps was a harrowing experience. She observes:
“I was ashamed that people could be capable of carrying out such horrors. It made me think about how I don’t really appreciate what I have and when comparing their experiences to mine, mine seem miniscule”.
“We saw children’s drawings which had been found at the camps - some of them were very explicit and it is unbelievable to me that these children witnessed this as many of them were the same age as my younger siblings. Everyone walked around in silence; there was a real sense of disbelief as everyone shared in the horror of what we were seeing.”
Chloe feels that going on the the trip hasn’t just been beneficial to her History studies, but has changed her mindset; how she approaches her work and how she can empathise and show compassion to others. Students were able to reflect on their visit at a special feedback session for parents and tutors.