Richard Taunton Students Relate How Chilling Auschwitz Visit Brought Lessons to Life to Mark Holocaust Day

Students from Richard Taunton Sixth Form College in Southampton will share their experience of a visit to Auschwitz as part of an educational project aimed at helping young people understand the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons From Auschwitz project, which has been running for 20 years, helps pupils to discover more about the history of the Jewish people, antisemitism and the Holocaust through a visit to the infamous Nazi death camp in Poland, as well as at workshops and seminars.

First year students Antonio Chung and Jamie Field were part of the trip, which they will be telling fellow students about to mark Holocaust Day on January 27.

The students will share the impact of their visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau and describe how they took part in a seminar where participants explored pre-war Jewish life and the Nazi campaign against the Jews

Antonio, who is studying history, economics and maths at A-level, said the visit has bought the harrowing reality of the suffering to life. “Being in a lesson, learning from textbooks is a totally different overview from when you are actually visiting Auschwitz in person, it changed my perspective,” he said.

The youngster, who lives in Southampton, said the visit had been useful for his studies. “I visit the museums and where everything took place, especially where the Jewish people lived and were killed,” he said.

“I saw their belongings and photographs of those who were killed and I could imagine what they went through. I came back with a deeper knowledge of the holocaust and it gave me an experience of what Auschwitz was like.”

Jamie, who lives in Bitterne and is studying history, economics and English at A-level, said he had also been struck by the photographs of those who perished at Auschwitz. “It was very surreal to see a place like that,” he said. “We saw the area the Jewish people were staying and it felt very immersive, especially seeing photographs of people and the list of names of those who were killed. It was very intense.”

History and politics lecturer Chris Harrison has been sending students on the trips since he joined the college 12 years ago. “Participating in the Lessons from Auschwitz Project provides the students with a unique learning experience, while continuing to develop as historians at the college, providing them with valuable lessons to take forward into later life,” he said.

“And, as we lose more survivors of the Holocaust, it is more important than ever that their stories continue to live on by sharing these experiences with young people.”

Pictured: A Level Students, Antonio Chung (left) and Jamie Field (right)
Pictured: First Year A Level Students, Antonio Chung (left) and Jamie Field (right)