Students from Coleg y Cymoedd were given the opportunity to hear the testimony of Holocaust survivor, Eva Clarke; as part of a visit organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust. Learners were also selected to participate in an educational visit to Auschwitz.
Following her talks Eva took part in question and answer sessions to enable students to better understand the nature of the Holocaust and to explore its lessons in more depth. The visit was part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s extensive all year round Outreach Programme, which is available to schools across the UK.
Business tutor Kim Purnell said: “It was a privilege for us to welcome Eva Clarke to our college and her testimony will remain a powerful reminder of the horrors so many experienced. We are grateful to the Holocaust Educational Trust for co-ordinating the visit and we hope that by hearing Eva’s testimony, it will encourage our students to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and make a positive difference in their own lives.”
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust added, “The Holocaust Educational Trust educates and engages students from across the UK, from all communities about the Holocaust and there can be no better way than through the first-hand testimony of a survivor. Eva’s story is one of tremendous courage during horrific circumstances and by hearing her testimony, students will have the opportunity to learn where prejudice and racism can ultimately lead.
At the Trust, we impart the history of the Holocaust to young people, to ensure that we honour the memory of those whose lives were lost and take forward the lessons taught by those who survived.”
As part of the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project, four students were also chosen to visit Auschwitz for the day. Learners Jodie Baker and Sandra Kawowska studying Level 3 Public Services at the Ystrad Mynach campus plus Georgia Gale and Elisha Kelly, studying Business at the Nantgarw campus were selected to take part in the visit. The four students joined a group of students from schools and colleges across the country for a tour of the camp.
The group visited several barracks, crematoria and gas chambers and also took part in a reflection ceremony, at the destroyed Crematoria 11 where they lit memorial candles and placed them around the structure’s remains.
Elisha said “I’d read about the horrors of Auschwitz and seen documentaries on the T.V., but to see it was something else. It was so emotional and puts life into perspective; it has left a lasting impression.”
Georgia added “I found it difficult to see the belongings of the people, especially the children. Being there you could feel what they went through”.
Prior to their visit to Auschwitz the students attended preparation sessions and on their return have participated in debriefing sessions; they are now working on a project to share their experiences with other students.