Remembering the Holocaust

Close up image of Danielle, she is standing outside the RNC student hub with a tree and halls of residence in the background.

At RNC (The Royal National College for the Blind), we have been working with  The Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) to learn more about the Holocaust and by doing so we want to motivate our students to be able to speak out against intolerance and for them to consider their responsibilities within their communities. This week HET are delivering an initial workshop here at RNC and next week we have a Holocaust survivor coming in to talk about her experiences.

As a College, we have also been involved in the HET outreach programme where our students were able to visit Poland earlier this year and you can find out more about this by reading Danielle’s incredibly moving reflective log.

 

Read Danielle’s blog;

Photo is taken from behind as RNC teacher Jane Crabtree is guiding Danielle across a very empty pathway in Auschwitz. Some buildings are ahead of them in the far distance.

Danielle and RNC Teacher Jane Crabtree

“The trip to Poland was fascinating. It completely made me distraught. We saw the little town in Poland, where over 50 percent of people were Jewish. It broke my heart to see what was a Jewish community becoming nothing, empty and a regular town lacking culture. When we went to Auschwitz, I felt so emotional and shocked. Seeing cabinets of hair, gas chambers, crematoriums, the inventory of shoes and people’s possessions and the living conditions completely broke my heart. The complete loss of life and signs of suffering made me so hurt, and angry. What bothered me was how someone, a human like me, could decide to take life like that. I wanted to break down, and completely grieve for those who died, but I had to carry on. What also upset me is how everyone had suffered so badly, for doing nothing but living their lives harmlessly.

 

We moved on to Birkenau. It was so big, and so cold. I had a coat on, and the biting Polish cold wind was harsh and bitter. I felt terrible for the victims, with no coats, only one, thin ragged layer. I also saw how large Birkenau was. The victims would have been walking for hours, working, and not sleeping. Illness would have swept through the camp. To finish our day we heard a rabbi talk, and he moved me to tears. This is when I truly did break down.

 

After Auschwitz, I had an eerie, shell shocked feeling, and have almost felt like I have been hearing things. I can almost feel the souls of those who died calling out to me. I was so distraught I had to have 2 days off college, unable to cope with the horrors I’d seen. Even now, I feel so angry and impacted after the experience. The final seminar helped to discuss feelings, and discuss ways we could move forward.

Our college are going to receive a survivor to talk about their journey. I would also love to present to my community, telling them what I saw, how I felt, and making them want to act. I would love to continue spreading the word; attending HET (Holocaust Educational Trust) events, commemorating on holocaust survival day, and telling survivors’ stories for them. My heart would break if the holocaust was no longer remembered. I’m aware that it’s our generation which needs to act now, and make sure nothing like this happens again. I love public speaking, so I’d be happy to talk to the world about the atrocities. More people also need to see Auschwitz, and learn, as I did, how to prevent it and spread the word. It’s good to hear about the Holocaust, and be aware of it, but it’s so much better to see it for yourself, it’s what really makes you feel grateful for your own life, and to protect us all from a recurrence of this terrible genocide.”

Written by RNC student Danielle Brewster

 

If you’re interested in finding out more about what RNC has to offer, call our Student Enquiries team on 01432 376 621 or email info@rnc.ac.uk