On Monday 30 May the Year 10 World War 2 class visited the Holocaust Museum. Students have been studying the Holocaust in class and have been looking at the impact this historical event has had on generations past and present.
Students spent the first half of the day engaging with primary resources and artefacts from the War. They participated in a workshop where they explored themes of discrimination and dehumanisation, as well as themes of hope and new beginnings. The day was full of both reflection and inspiration for our young people. Students read translated notices and newspapers that were circulated during World War 2 and learnt about the impact of propaganda. Students also held a food-ration card and a ration bowl that was given to the Jewish people at the start of the war. This was a confronting moment for our students as they began to acknowledge the reality of the treatment of Jewish people during the war.
The most inspiring part of the day was when students heard the firsthand story of Holocaust survivor, 93-year-old Szaja Chaskiel. Szaja shared the story of his life, beginning with his childhood pre-war where he went to school and played with his friends, right through to his time in Auschwitz concentration camp. He retold the story of the murder of his father by Nazi soldiers and his escape from a labour camp at 11 years old. Following this, he shared stories of kindness and compassion, when a Catholic priest housed and protected him. Szaja shared his experience on the death-walk, where he walked through snow for eight days and eight nights with no food or water, and students witnessed the tattooed numbers on his arm. It was a truly emotional experience.
Students left the excursion with a sense of hope. While Szaja’s story is one of trauma and loss, he shared moments of kindness to hold on to. John urged students to be kind in their lives and to “not-hate.” His story is one that will resonate with us for a long time and students were grateful to have been able to experience his story firsthand. A special thank you to Miss Trotman for organising the day.
From the Learning Area Leader – Humanities, Ms Ashley Saliba