On the 4th May two year 12 students, Megan and Dimitri, went on a trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Auschwitz-Birkenau was a German concentration/death camp located in Oswiecim Poland. It was used by the Germans during World War 2 to exterminate the enemies of the Nazis, this included Jews, prisoners of war, travellers, homosexuals and other nationalities. The camp is split into two; Auschwitz I which was the concentration and prison holding place and Birkenau which was the death camp. They were in operation from May 1940-January 1945 killing an estimated 1.1 million people.
Two weeks before they travelled to Poland they attended a seminar held by a holocaust survivor known as Zigi Schipper. Zigi provided them with a deep, horrific and heart wrenching account of his personal events during the holocaust.
-During their visit to the camp they were able to explore both camps. They saw very personal items such as clothes, shoes, glasses, keys and even hair!
“The most upsetting moment for me was seeing all of the photographs and family portraits of the victims, especially all the babies and children. I think it makes the event seem so much more real and shocking when you can see exact individuals who were affected.” –Megan Lawlor
“The part which affected me the most was seeing the room full of hair. From just seeing how high and wide the stack of hair was, it really put into perspective the scale of what happened and the horrors that occurred. The hair still had some hair grips and braids in which made it a lot more personal and horrifying.” –Dimitri Grammenos
Both students noted how seeing Auschwitz-Birkenau really opened their eyes to the holocaust. The main point that both students have taken away from the experience is that the holocaust is more than just a statistic. Each person who died was an individual and more than just a number and they should be remembered. They had lives, jobs, a family and dreams and they should be remembered, not the statistic but the individuals.