Lessons from Auschwitz at Cardinal Newman Catholic School

Nationally since 1999, over 30,000 students and teachers have taken part in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s groundbreaking Lessons from Auschwitz project. During the summer term Luton Futures students Faaizah Khatun and Shane Fennelly, from Cardinal Newman School, took part in this valuable project visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. They then had the opportunity to teach year 7 students what they had learnt and experienced when they returned.

Based on the premise that ‘hearing is not like seeing’, this project explores the universal lessons of the Holocaust and its relevance today by giving a number of students the possibility of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau. The project aims to increase knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust for young people and to clearly highlight what can happen if prejudice become acceptable in today’s environment.

During their time in Poland, Faaizah and Shane were honoured to have the opportunity to listen to a Holocaust survivor, showing them the value of what we can learn from the Holocaust today. From this experience, and going to the camp, they were then able to educate other students about what they had seen and learnt. They specifically worked with year 7 students in humanising the atrocity by having them look for a name on the Holocaust Remembrance Page that meant something to them, for example the same first name. This was to express to the year 7 students that each victim had an individual identity and are not just a number or statistic, something that became very important to Faaizah and Shane when they visited the concentration camp.

A walkthrough memorial at the front of reception was later constructed so the Year 7s and other members of the school community could look at their work and remember the victims.

Faaizah and Shane would like to thank the History Department for giving them an opportunity they will never forget.