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Auschwitz, Poland 2016

On Wednesday 24th February, Joseph and three other members of the Sixth Form, Ruby, Jay and Mary, visited Auschwitz near Krakow in Poland.


Written by Joseph Draper, Year 13

On Wednesday 24th February, I and three other members of the Sixth form, Ruby, Jay and Mary, visited Auschwitz near Krakow in Poland.

This concentration and death camp has become synonymous with the Holocaust, and few other words are capable of inciting such horror. We were joined by a group of around 180 students from all around Wales, as part of a programme set up by the Holocaust Educational Trust, an organisation that aims to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.

No pictures could have prepared us for what we saw there. Each familiar story became an entire life; an entire community. Each statistic took the form of a gaunt face or a broken body, slumped into the fire. One of the pictures show mound upon mound of brittle hair shorn from the heads of thousands of women and children so that it could be sold into the textile industry as a source of profit for the Nazis.

Little girls had their graceful braids ripped carelessly from the roots. Often, they were stripped naked in the freezing conditions, as jeering men watched over them; Spectators. All of this before they were herded into a suffocating chamber to be given a “shower.”

Towards the end of the war, the Nazis saw even the use of gas to murder the Jews as a drain on their economic resources. At this point, babies, children, men and women were not shown such mercy. At this point, determined to keep their promise to the Jewish people, the Nazis would throw them, still living, into fiery pits. All of this because of the faith they were born into- all of this because they happened to be born at the wrong time and into the wrong world.

One point five million children, six million Jewish people, all burned to dust as the world stood silent. We must not shy away from these facts. The Holocaust did happen, all across Europe. Hitler kept his promise.