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Marshland High School

Lessons from the past for Marshland pupils

Marshland High School students were learning valuable lessons from the past when they paid a visit to the Beth Shalom National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Nottinghamshire.

The 42 Year 9 students from our school had been covering the Holocaust as part of their Curriculum studies, and the trip to the UK’s only dedicated Holocaust memorial centre brought the topic vividly to life for them.

“Students in Year 9 study the Holocaust,” said Marshland’s Head of Humanities Debby Dye, who accompanied the group. “Students learn about the Holocaust and why it happened through objects, survivor testimony and educator-led workshops.”

It was the first time our school, which is part of the West Norfolk Academies Trust, had visited the Centre, which was founded by brothers James and Stephen Smith in 1995, after a 1991 visit to Israel.

As well as learning more about the Holocaust, the students were introduced to Holocaust survivor Arek Hersch, who was able to provide them with a more personal perspective on the subject.

“Students listened to Arek, with the support of his wife, deliver his testimony,” continued Miss Dye. “They were shocked by his experiences, especially when he described the appalling conditions he experienced in the ghettos and camps.

“At the end of his testimony, students were allowed to ask questions. They asked about his life today and the importance of learning about the Holocaust.

“Many students went on to purchase signed copies of his book, so they could read more about his life.”

“Topics like the Holocaust pose big questions for our students,” she added. “Why does hatred persist? How should we treat others? How do we think for ourselves?

“In a world of online hatred and conspiracy theories, now, more than ever, we need the lessons of the Holocaust.”