Holocaust Memorial Day
Year 12 students attended the Wirral Commemoration of the Holocaust Memorial day at the Floral Pavilion
On the 27th January every year we remember the genocide of approximately six million European Jews through a systematic state-sponsored extermination by the Nazi regime during WWII. Holocaust Memorial Day has been held in the
The 27th January is the anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi killing camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, by the
Rudi Oppenheimer was born in
The afternoon began with an official opening of Wirral Holocaust Memorial Day 2011 by the Mayor. Following on from this we heard from Mark Parkinson, Head of Branch for Learning and Achievement who gave an opening address of ‘Untold Stories’, the 2011 theme. This year they have focused upon this theme to ensure that ‘Untold Stories’ do not get lost or forgotten. There are millions of narratives that we will never get to hear and it is for this reason that we listen and honour the memory of those that we still can. It is these stories that will hopefully enable us to recognise the consequences of persecution and create a safer and better future.
It was agreed by all our Mosslands students that the short talk given by Mark Parkinson was extremely interesting and shed light on how different countries remember those persecuted in the Holocaust. He talked about his visit to
Following on from this a ‘Statement of Commitment’ was read by pupils from a variety of Wirral schools accompanied by the lighting of memorial candles. Andrew Mitchell, a student from the Yr 12 History group commented that he found the candle lighting ‘really effective’ and believes that ‘this can often hold more meaning than any kind of speech’. The students believed it was important that names of other survivors ‘Untold Stories’ were read out but thought it would have been enhanced by giving a brief account of their experience too.
A highly relatable part of the afternoon for many of the students was when
The final and most heartening part of the afternoon was of course provided by Rudi Oppenheimer. For one hour he captivated the audience with his story of what it was like for his Jewish family growing up during WWII. Everybody in the room wanted to hear his story, to come closer to only imagining the true horrors that he faced. Andrew and Adam both commented that one of the biggest reasons why they wanted to attend the afternoon was to ‘put a face to a story, to actually put the Holocaust into perspective’.
Rudi took us on a journey of his life right from the beginning. He talked about how he was hidden from the growing discontent in
Students noted how Rudi was honest, warm and good-humoured whilst telling the audience of his experiences. He spoke greatly of his family, the people he met and the places he lived. He never talked of real hatred and blame, no matter how atrocious an event, the excluding and persecution became part of everyday life for millions of people.
Overall the afternoon certainly accomplished its goal of providing the next generation with the opportunity to hear the stories of those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime. However, we now run the risk in the upcoming years of losing these invaluable stories as the WWII generation begin to pass away. It is our role therefore to not shy away from these stories but instead listen and learn from them and tell others about what we know.
Lower Sixth History group
Written by Laura Corcoran. Experiences of the afternoon given by Andrew Mitchell and Adam Kirby