Auschwitz TripPosted on: 05/03/2019
During the half term holidays, students from the Lancaster academy had the privilege of visiting Poland to experience its culture & heritage. The students enjoyed the experience of walking around Karakow and visiting some of Poland’s famous historical sites whilst taking in the fantastic architecture and embracing the classic streets of Karakow with a contemporary twist.
The students visited the sites of the Jewish Quarter and the memorial centre where the Jewish ghetto once was. The students reflected on life in the ghettos where they were greeted with the memorial of the lonely chairs in the centre of what was once a crowded square. The 33 iron & bronze chairs symbolised the tragedy of the Polish Jews and our students used this opportunity to pay their respects and reflect on the importance of justice & tolerance. The students also had the opportunity to view the chemist that was used by the Jews in the ghetto during the period of persecution and were surprised that the chemist which has so much history still existed today and operated as normal given how close its ties to the ghettos were.
The students also had the opportunity to visit the Auschwitz & Birkenau concentration camps which was a sombre & humbling experience. The students visited the various blocks inside the Auschwitz concentration camp where they witnessed the remnants of the Holocaust, the harsh & regimented living conditions, stories of the daily lives, artefacts of various forms, the luggage of the victims the sleeping & washing chambers, the cells, the shoes of children and the gas chambers and so on. The students also had the opportunity to visit the Birkenau concentration camp and found this large open space to be eerie bringing the realisation of just how big the camps actually were. The railway track in which the students walked beside brought to the fore the harsh realities of what once was the scene of selection and separation. The students saw some of the destruction left behind, the bunkers, the memorial site and were very inquisitive asking lots of questions based on what they saw. The experience for the students made them question the morality, mindset and ideology of individuals who can have such hatred, and come to the conclusion that hatred & discrimination must be tackled using tolerance, understanding education and determination so that such atrocities be eradicated forever and hatred never be allowed to prevail.
Following the visit of the concentration camps the next day students visited the factory of Oskar Schindler where they toured the museum and were taken on the journey of Poland pre & post WW2 which included the efforts of Oskar Schindler in helping save some 1,200Jews from certain death. The students again were humbled by the pictures of some of those who had lost their lives and were equally impressed at the risks taken by Oskar Schindler at risking his own life in an attempt to save the lives of others.
Later in the day the students had time to themselves where they again embraced the Polish culture by indulging in the local cuisine taking a particular liking to the local doughnuts and did some shopping buying gifts for their families.
Throughout the trip our students conducted themselves with great maturity demonstrating exemplary behaviour at all times acting with great care and respect to all. It was a great pleasure to take the students on the trip and give them opportunities that they thought would never have been possible made all the more pleasing when it was the first time some of the students had been abroad. Our students did themselves and the school proud wearing the badge of Lancaster with great honour and pride.