Students from a South Yorkshire school heard harrowing tales from a Holocaust survivor and paid their respects to victims of genocide around the world during a visit to the National Holocaust Centre and Museum.
Over 70 Year 9 pupils from Swinton Academy, near Rotherham, travelled to the centre, in Nottinghamshire, to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2019; a day on which victims of genocides are remembered.
They heard about genocides around the world - including those in Rwanda and South Sudan - before taking a tour around the museum, which documents life under the Nazi regime for the Jews and other persecuted minorities.
Perhaps the most poignant moment, though, came during a video chat with 73-year-old Eva Clarke, who was born at Mauthausen concentration camp just 24 hours before Adolf Hitler committed suicide. The American army liberated Mauthausen on May 5.
Eva weighed just 3lb when her mother, Anka Bergman, gave birth to her in the notorious death camp. Anka weighed a fragile five stone and swaddled her newborn in newspaper to keep her warm.
Fifteen members of Eva’s immediate family – including her father – were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Now, she spends her time educating others about her experiences.
Teacher Lindsay Rosser, who organised the trip to the Holocaust Memorial Centre, said: “Eva spoke very openly about the Holocaust. It was extremely moving.
“Students learned about how the roots of genocide stem from intolerance, hatred, prejudice and discrimination and that we should work together to create a world of peace where everyone is respected.
“This is an important message for all in the diverse world we live in today and echoes the commitment to British Values which Swinton Academy proudly holds.”
Students also visited the centre’s Memorial Garden, which has a memorial of stones representing all the children who died in the Holocaust. Swinton Academy pupils were encouraged to place a stone in the garden to honour those youngsters who perished during the war.
Special assemblies were held by teacher Suzanne Naylor in school, too, to make Holocaust Memorial Day 2019.
Ms Rosser added: “It was an informative and enjoyable, yet sombre, day for our students. They all represented Swinton Academy superbly.”
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