Blogs and News - St George's School, Edinburgh

03 Oct 2019
Lessons from Auschwitz


Since 1999, over 39,500 students and teachers have taken part in the Holocaust Educational Trust's Lessons from Auschwitz project. Based on the premise that 'hearing is not like seeing', this course explores the universal lessons of the Holocaust and its relevance for today and aims to clearly highlight what can happen if prejudice and racism become acceptable. Saffron (Upper 6) and Isobel (Lower 6) are representing St. George’s this year and have completed their orientation seminar, which included discussion with a Holocaust survivor, and made a one-day visit to the former Nazi concentration and death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Saffron has talked about what she hopes to do with the knowledge and understanding she will gain from her participation:

‘Hearing is not like seeing.” My knowledge of the Holocaust comes from listening to teachers, reading and watching endless documentaries and YouTube videos. All allow the reader or viewer to hide behind the pages or screen. By experiencing the shocking reality, I will witness and begin to understand how tragic this time in history was. Those who have visited say that they could never find the words to describe their experience of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Having heard the moving testimony of a Holocaust survivor, I have already gained insight into its reality. Soon there will be no more Holocaust survivors and as this project aims to keep the Holocaust permanent in our memories; it is my duty to share experiences which have left a stamp on mine to let that memory live on.

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Isobel also aims to keep those memories alive and to raise awareness of more recent examples of ethnic cleansing and draw attention to the failure of the international community to act quickly enough to prevent abuses:


It took more than just an insane anti-Semite to facilitate this genocide; inherently good people were doubtless involved. I know that visiting Auschwitz will enrich my perception of the entirety of history, which is, sadly, rife with subjugation. I can write passionately about topics that mean a great deal to me and aim to use Independent Women and to create a display containing artwork, writing and photography to enable the whole school to explore the Holocaust’s impact and some of the chilling resemblances it has to events like the 2016 Rohingya persecution in Myanmar. I hope I will be able to inspire my peers, handle sensitive topics with maturity and above all, speak for those who have lost their voices so future generations will have theirs heard.


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