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Wirral students learn lessons of Auschwitz
4:30pm Tuesday 30th October 2012 in News
WIRRAL MP Alison McGovern accompanied students from schools in her constituency to the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.
Students from South Wirral High school, Wirral Metropolitan College and Bebington High Sports College in Wirral South returned from the Holocaust Educational Trust’s visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau on Thursday vowing to act on the lessons learned from the experience.
They were among more than 200 other post-16 students from across the North-West on the Project, a unique opportunity to learn about what happened at Auschwitz-Birkenau, to pay respect to those who lost their lives, and to explore the universal lessons of the Holocaust and its relevance for today.
The students will now use the experience to commemorate and educate others about the Holocaust at their schools and in their local communities.
Now in its thirteenth year, the Project is based on the premise that "hearing is not like seeing".
Students first visited Osweicim, the town where the Auschwitz death and concentration camps were located and where before the war, 58% of the population was Jewish.
Students then visited Auschwitz I to see the former camp's barracks and crematoria and witnessing the piles of belongings that were seized by the Nazis.
Finally they spent time at the main killing centre of Birkenau where the day concluded with candle lighting and a period of reflection to remember the victims of the Nazis killed in the Holocaust.
The Lessons from Auschwitz Project visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau was preceded by a seminar in the UK where participants were introduced to Jewish life in Europe before the War.
Following the visit, the students attended a seminar to reflect on the visit and discuss their personal responses to it.
The fourth part of the project requires all students to pass on the Lessons from Auschwitz to their schools and wider community.
In this way, as many young people as possible benefit from the Lessons from Auschwitz Project.
Government funding has enabled the Trust to facilitate regional visits to Auschwitz, as part of its Lessons from Auschwitz Project for thousands of students each year.
Alison McGovern MP said: "I cannot underestimate the importance of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and recognising the full extent of the Holocaust.
"These events may have taken place over 60 years ago but we need to continue to teach the lessons of the Holocaust to the younger generations in order to fight bigotry and hatred today.
"I look forward to seeing how the students will communicate their experience to their peers and am encouraged that many more students will have the opportunity to participate in the course in future years.
"I hope that this will ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten and that its lessons are truly learnt, disseminated and acted upon.
Karen Pollock MBE, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: "We are delighted that Alison joined us on the visit with students from her constituency.
"The Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project is such a vital part of our work because it not only gives students the chance to learn about the Holocaust but to understand the dangers and potential effects of prejudice and racism today on a local and national scale."