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A Jewish tragedy, a human tragedy

This week Shil Patel and Daivik Gandhi, both in Year 12, were chosen by The Holocaust Education Trust to visit Auschwitz. Shil reflects on his visit:

‘“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it” (George Santayana). The experience itself has felt so surreal, a sensation of “weirdness” overcame me. Having been there now, and witnessed the sheer scale of it all, I feel overwhelmed and definitely think it shows the true powers of human capacity: both the incredible strength of the few survivors, and the pure evil of those who were in charge. It was an experience which will last me a lifetime, and I strongly believe that all should bear witness to the events that took place there, and pay homage to those millions who endured evil there.’

The Holocaust Educational Trust was established in 1988. From their website: ‘Our aim is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and the important lessons to be learned for today. The Trust works in schools, universities and in the community to raise awareness and understanding of the Holocaust, providing teacher training, an outreach programme for schools, teaching aids and resource material. One of our earliest achievements was ensuring that the Holocaust formed part of the National Curriculum for History. We continue to play a leading role in training teachers on how best to teach the Holocaust.’

I took my words for the title of this entry from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. He commented in a recent article, ‘when the Archbishop of Canterbury and I led a mission of leaders of all the faiths in Britain to Auschwitz in November, we did so in the belief that the time has come to strengthen our sense of human solidarity. For the Holocaust was not just a Jewish tragedy but a human one. Nor did it happen in some remote corner of the globe. It happened in the heart of Europe, in the culture that had given the world Goethe and Beethoven, Kant and Hegel. And it can happen again. Not in the same place, not in the same way, but hate still stalks our world.’

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