Holocaust memories

st richards school pupils mark Holocaust Day
st richards school pupils mark Holocaust Day

Pupils at St Richard’s Catholic College took part in two extra-curricular activities to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

Fifteen Year 10 and 11 GCSE History pupils travelled to Sussex University in Brighton to take part in an event. During the afternoon pupils heard from journalist and author Thomas Harding and Bergen-Belsen survivor Zahava Kohn. Harding’s talk highlighted the ‘human’ side to a convicted war criminal and brought to life the difficulties faced by the families of all of those who were affected by the Holocaust.

Zahava Kohn, with the help of her daughter Hephzibah Rudofsky, shared with the pupils her experiences of life as a young Jewish girl growing up in both work and concentration camps. Supported by original photographs, letter and artefacts, Zahava’s story was one of unimaginable suffering followed by unsurpassable courage and triumph.

Additionally, Lydia Henry, R.E. teacher at St. Richard’s, organised a trip for ten Year 10 pupils to attend a very special Holocaust Survivor Testimony at Chichester Cathedral. The pupils were selected for the trip based on essays that they had written about the Holocaust which were judged by their teachers to be of an excellent standard.

The pupils enjoyed an informative tour of Chichester Cathedral where they learnt about Bishop Bell’s role and link to Dietrich Bonhoeffer in bringing Jews to the UK during the war. The tour was followed by a candid account of the experience of Stephen Frank, from the Netherlands, who was held in the Theresienstadt concentration camp in the then Czechoslovakia. His talk was followed by a question and answer session with the St. Richard’s pupils and those from other schools. The St. Richard’s pupils attending found the event to be most valuable and indeed felt very privileged to have the opportunity to listen to and engage with Mr Frank on the lessons we can learn from the Holocaust.