AT that time of year when the world particularly reflects on the tragedy of war, 200 students confronted it face to face in Auschwitz.
The Nazi concentration camp has become a synonym for man’s darkest hour, but from a visit students were able to learn lessons about tolerance, respect and discrimination.
Sixth form students from 100 schools and colleges across the North West visited Auschwitz and Birkenau, including from Baines Sixth Form and Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts (LSA) College.
The trip was aided by the Holocaust Educational Trust, who organise for teens to meet a survivor, Ziggy Shipper, and learn about the Holocaust’s relevance in modern life.
Students then visited the camps’ barracks, crematoria and killing centre before attending a candle lighting ceremony for a time of reflection on the day-long trip.
Kirsten Pal, who studies post-Holocaust theology as part of the Religious Studies A Level at Baines Sixth Form, Poulton, said: “It was a very powerful day, I think it has enhanced my learning and I’ve more of an ability to sympathise with the it now.
“To visit Auschwitz and Birkenau, you get a sense of the scale of the Holocaust.”
Kirsten, 17, and classmate James Ormerod, 17, who also went on the trip, are now planning to deliver assemblies and lessons to other students at Baines High School and Sixth Form to share with them what they learned.
Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde, also travelled to Southern Poland with two LSA College students, James Curren and Jake Richardson.
He said: “The students went with the spirit of understanding the atrocities. I think they got an enormous amount out of it, they were both sensitive and intuitive.”
The group spent a day at the concentration camps, on Thursday, October 25, after a series of workshops with the Holocaust Educational Trust in which they learnt about the historical context of the Holocaust and heard the story of a survivor of the camps.