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Students Auschwitz Experience
Two St Austell students have had the opportunity to delve into the history of Auschwitz after being selected to take part in a national project.
Hannah Kendall and Tara Hocking, who are currently studying Health and Social Care, represented Cornwall College St Austell in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project.
They have recently returned from a visit to the former Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz in Poland and will participate in seminars in Exeter on the 18th of March where they will meet and work with college students from all over the south of England.
The project started with two seminars in Exeter where they heard testimony from a holocaust survivor about their personal experience before, during and after the war. They joined more than 11,000 young people from across the UK by becoming student ambassadors for the project. These ambassadors will be given the responsibility of delivering a powerful message to their fellow college students and the wider community on the importance of challenging prejudice, promoting tolerance and never again allowing hatred to gain a foothold in society.
Tara commented: “Educating young people about the Holocaust is essential to ensure that it never happens again. By learning about other cultures and their histories we can learn to be open-minded and tolerant, therefore eliminating the chances of something like this from happening again.”
Tara said her grandparents were also excited about her going on the trip because they were alive during the war and can recall the hardships of being a child in that era.
The visit to Poland began with the students seeing a pre-war Jewish site in the Polish town of Oœwiêcim. With the aim to help students learn more about the victims lives before war. Then the day focused on seeing Auschwitz-Birkenau. Students toured authentic Holocaust sites and museum exhibits and saw registration documents of inmates, piles of hair, shoes, clothes and other items seized from the prisoners as they entered the camps, which are displayed within these buildings along with a general history of the camp. They then visited the remnants of barracks, crematoria and gas chambers of Birkenau where the vast majority of victims were murdered.
Hannah said: “It was extremely exciting to visit Auschwitz, but it was an emotional rollercoaster, seeing the atrocities that were committed and how the victims suffered. It was really interesting to see how events of the past have influenced the way in which morals, beliefs and attitudes have changed today’s society. This really should never be allowed to happen again. ”
Dave Linnell, Principal of Cornwall College, said: “Hannah and Tara have had a wonderful, experience and opportunity, I’m sure that they embraced the trip and will make excellent ambassadors for the project. I’m very proud of all of our students at Cornwall College and it just goes to show that with initiative, creativity and support from staff, anything is possible.”
For more information about Cornwall College please call 0845 22 32 567, visit www.cornwall.ac.uk, or find us on Twitter @cornwallcollege.