Year 10 Visit to The Holocaust Centre (Beth Shalom)
The newly-opened A46 enabled us to reach our destination in record time, (though unfortunately without our sandwiches, which we had inadvertently left in school!!). Beth Shalom, (“House of Peace” in Hebrew), the Holocaust Centre, is located in Laxton, a tiny village near Newark in Nottinghamshire and although a long way from Thornton, is well worth the journey.
After a brief introduction to the day, our group divided. Half of us explored the Memorial Gardens, noting the plaques in memory of individuals, families and communities, who had perished during the Holocaust. We were invited to place our stone on a very large pile of stones as a tangible reminder of the number of children, who died in those years, one stone for each child. The Gardens were full of poignant reminders of the sheer scale of the Holocaust and of symbolic objects, on which we could reflect.
The other group visited the Exhibition, taking time to listen to the first-hand accounts of life as a Jew in the war years and noting the objects and images, which brought those years and the suffering of the Jews to light.
We were also able to watch a video presentation about the Centre and its work. This presentation asked the key question of the day – not HOW did the Holocaust happen, but WHY? We were asked to reflect on our own attitudes and prejudices as well as examine the attitudes and prejudices of the past.
After lunch, (and some sandwiches, which the very kind ladies in the on-site café had provided in our hour of need!), we gathered again in the Central Hall to hear our speaker, Mala Tribich , a survivor of Ravensbruck and Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camps, tell her remarkable story. We were grateful for the opportunity to ask questions and to learn more, recognising that in a very few years, there will be no survivors left. All-in-all, this was a very worthwhile and a very moving and relevant day for all of us.