Students hear Holocaust survivors’ wartime experiences in unique educational programme
07th February 2020
With this year marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, around 3,000 pupils from more than 50 schools across Hertfordshire and the London Boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon are participating in a unique Holocaust Learning programme, hosted by local synagogues, to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Between 29 January and 7 February 2020, the students, in years 9 to 13, took part in an educational workshop and had the rare opportunity to listen to a Holocaust survivor or, in some cases, the son or daughter of a survivor, recount their personal experiences of the Holocaust.
The workshops provided context and related facts about the Holocaust to contemporary issues such as racism, discrimination, persecution and citizenship. All the sessions concluded with closing reflections from each synagogue’s rabbi and the lighting of a memorial candle. This year’s theme is ‘Stand Together’.
Twenty schools and colleges participated in this year’s events at Northwood United Synagogue and Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue. They include St Helen’s (Northwood), Royal Masonic School (Rickmansworth), Northwood College, Thomas Alleyne (Stevenage), Douay Martyrs School (Ickenham), Parmiter’s School (Watford), Hitchin Boys’ School, Croxley Danes School (Rickmansworth), Harlington School, Hewens College and Guru Nanak Sikh Academy (Hayes), Marlborough School (St Albans), Nower Hill High School (Pinner), St Clement Danes School (Chorleywood), Sacred Heart (Harrow), Merchant Taylors’ School (Rickmansworth), Rosedale College (Hayes), Watford Girls’ Grammar, Hockerill College (Bishops Stortford) and Goffs Academy (Cheshunt).
The experiences of Holocaust survivors Harry Bibring, Henri Obstfeld, Gerald Granston, Vera Schaufeld and Manfred Goldberg were shared at Northwood United Synagogue, while Eva Clarke, Steven Frank, Ann Kirk, Bob Kirk, Peter Lantos and Susan Pollack shared their accounts at Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue.
The aims of the Holocaust Learning (formerly Northwood Holocaust Memorial Day Events) programme are to educate students about the Holocaust, make a connection between the Holocaust and subsequent genocides and invite students to consider their personal responsibility to promote tolerance in today’s world.
Michael Bibring, son of survivor Harry Bibring, shared his late father’s story