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Archive for the category “Lessons From Auschwitz”


I am just about to watch “Schindler’s List” ahead of my trip to Poland tomorrow (when I can manage to persuade my husband to watch the football on his phone) It is a 1993 film directed by Steven Spielberg and I can remember watching it once before: the most vivid thing that I remember is the girl in the red coat. The plot focuses on a guy called Oscar Schindler who was a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand refugees during the Holocaust. They were mostly Polish-Jewish refugees and Schindler (Liam Neeson) rescued them by employing them in his factories.  I think I remember that Ralph Fiennes played a role as an SS officer…..just looking at the visual image of the theatrical poster makes me feel sad so it will be interesting to see how I cope with the Holocaust Educational Trip tomorrow…..One thing that I am looking forward to is going on a trip where everything is organised for you. It is a huge responsibility as a teacher when you run a trip so it is lovely to have everything organised by someone else! The “Lessons from Auschwitz” trip has been brilliantly organised so far – I have had a message on my phone this afternoon with a number to call if I am running late in the morning! I am usually the one panicking about other people running late! It will be nice to be part of the 200 people going on the visit. To go back to the iconography and symbolism of the girl in the red coat; Schindler sees a little girl wearing a red coat which is one of the extremely few instance of color. The film is primarily shot in black and white: red is used to distinguish the little girl. We discussed this flash of colour at our orientation seminar on Thursday as we talked about our expectations of what we would see and hear at Auschwitz. Later in the film, the girl in red is seen among the dead, recognizable only by the red coat she is still wearing. I found this quotation from Steven Spielberg about his use of the colour red:

“America and Russia and England all knew about the Holocaust when it was happening, and yet we did nothing about it. We didn’t assign any of our forces to stopping the march toward death, the inexorable march toward death. It was a large bloodstain, primary red color on everyone’s radar, but no one did anything about it. And that’s why I wanted to bring the color red in.”



Lessons From Holocaust

I have just returned from the Orientation seminar organised by Holocaust Educational Trust. Our specific trip is part of the Lessons From Auschwitz project. The seminar has taken place at Aston University from 3pm-7pm this afternoon. Two of my Year 12 girls have been lucky enough to secure a place on this prestigious course and I have also managed to bag a teacher place! The course was expertly run in preparation for our visit to Poland next Tuesday 1st May 2012. We had a whole group talk and then a smaller session with our group and our educator Steve.

We put the visit to Auschwitz next week in the broader context of the Holocaust at the start of the seminar. We looked at photographs from a variety of people affected by WW2. We were encouraged to interrogate the terms of the course: the idea that lessons can be learned from Auschwitz.

This was followed by an amazing talk by Holocaust survivor Zigi Shipper who gave an inspiring testimonial. The 82 year old repeatedly stated that he has had a happy life and the reason he wants to share his experiences is to promote his motto “Do not hate and don’t give up”. He talked about the importance of friends in time of need and how important his family are to him. Zigi was both an inspiring yet humble and humorous communicator; a real joy to listen to. He certainly gave us a human perspective on the Holocaust which I am sure will help us when we physically travel to the site.

We are in group five with Steve which consists of many students, one other teacher and a journalist called Bobby Bridge  from CIN: Central Independent News and Media. We had a really productive session discussing our expectations, photography and the logistics of the trip in our smaller group. I am really looking forward to the trip next week (despite the 5am check in at the airport!!!)

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