Normal lessons were put on hold on Tuesday this week as students in Year 9 undertook a whole day devoted to remembering the Holocaust. The rest of the school attended dedicated assemblies, as the school joined thousands of people across the country in marking Holocaust Memorial Day.
The students were given special lessons run by the History, RE and Modern Languages departments to help understand the Holocaust and its impact and to consider what they can do in their own lives to tackle racism and intolerance. At the end of the day, students wrote their reflections on luggage tags, which were hung on a memory tree in the school reception, part of the theme for this year, chosen by the event’s organisers, the Holocaust Memorial Trust, of ‘keeping the memory alive’.
Click the images below to view some of the messages written by the students.
The Languages department has run a scheme of work based around the non-violent German resistance movement within Nazi Germany to help students appreciate the complexity of such an event and underlining the importance of avoiding prejudice.
“As subsequent genocides have shown, persecution did not end with the overthrow of the Nazi regime” commented Mrs Lingard, Head of History, “so although it is 70 years since the end of World War II, it has never been more important for students to learn about and reflect upon these dark episodes in history.”
Holocaust Memorial Day is marked on 27 January, the anniversary of the Soviet liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. It is a national commemoration day in the United Kingdom dedicated to the remembrance of those who suffered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
This is the fifth year Millthorpe has delivered a day of special activities on the 27 January to help students learn more about the significance of these atrocities. The RE department also arranges an annual visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau and the History department has been running a series of activities linked to remembrance.
“This is another great example of our students learning something that will help them gain a better understanding of the world and their place in it; school is not just about passing exams, important as that is,” noted Mr Burton.
Millthorpe recently became the first maintained school in the country to be awarded the Historical Association’s Quality Mark. This accolade is given to schools that are judged to be outstanding in the quality of their history teaching, the breadth of their curriculum, the opportunities for enrichment and the leadership of the department.