NSFC student Emma Harvey reflects on visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau

27 January

Remembering the Holocaust

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

Prejudice can be the beginning of extreme catastrophes such as the Holocaust, and this message is clear when visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland.

Prejudice leads to discrimination, discrimination leads to false hatred, and spreading false hatred among others can very easily lead to physical and active force on a person, or group of people. We often focus on the incomprehensible numbers, and forget that the victims had lives, families, jobs and aspirations.

Through the Lessons from Auschwitz Project, I was given the opportunity to meet Zigi Shipper, a Polish Auschwitz survivor who shared his testimony with us. He has had to live with the knowledge that he could have been one of 6 million other Jewish people whose outcomes were very different.

Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau really brought home the fact that the Holocaust was a real event which took place in modern times - and it could happen again. It demonstrates the significance and importance of every individual, as without tolerance from civilians, it could be argued that the Holocaust might never have escalated to the extent that it did.

It is important to remember historical events in order to learn from them. Without remembering our mistakes, the devastations which took place in the years leading up to 1945 will inevitably repeat themselves.

Emma Harvey

Emma is in her second year at Newcastle Sixth Form College and studies A Level English Language, History and Law.