Year 12 Historians Visit Poland

An extract from Mr Price’s (Head of History) Diary:

I accompanied Year 12 to Kraków, Poland where we learnt about the Kraków Jewish community before, during and after the Holocaust. Our wonderful guide Mateusz (a member of the Jewish community in Kraków) taught us about the prosperous and vibrant Jewish community before World War II which numbered up to 70,000. Mateusz illustrated their immense cultural contribution to Polish life through giving us a very enriching tour of  Kazimierz the Jewish quarter in Kraków. 

During the tour, Mateusz also taught us about the Nazi occupation by focusing on heroes and villains in Kraków during the occupation. Looking at figures like Amon Goeth the Commandant of Plaszow concentration camp and Oscar Schindler the saviour of 1,098. 

On day two we visited Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz 2 Birkenau this was an informative and harrowing day for everybody. We also met a survivor of the Jewish community of Kraków whose testimony was very disturbing and emotional but finished with a message of hope and love. 

On the final day we attended a workshop at the Museum of Modern Art where we analysed art work that dealt with the holocaust and later genocides a particular moving moment was when we saw a refugee boat made of shoes similar to the exhibit in Auschwitz 1 of shoes stolen by the Nazi's from their victims. Luna’s (12M) analysis of this work was particularly impactful when she related her experience of family members who had fled Syria. 

In the afternoon we attended our final workshop at the Galicia Jewish Museum where we looked at perpetrators, collaborators, victims, saviours and resistors and realised the complexity of these definitions. 

My Year 12 History pupils made me very proud to be their teacher and an enormous thanks to Ms Jones for her extensive support with this project. Well done all!