This was a harrowing but "crucial" experience for two North Shields students
Two students from North Shields were among a party to experience an educational visit to a former Nazi concentration camp.
Robbie Fenwick and Freya Rippin, Year 13 students from St Thomas More RC Academy in North Shields, visited Auschwitz as part of the annual Holocaust Education Trust’s ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project.
They said their visit “naturally sparked a range of emotions”.
The group visited the town of Oswiecim, which the Nazis renamed Auschwitz.
There they learned that 60 per cent of the town’s population was Jewish before World War Two.
Of their tour of Auschwitz 1, the pair said: “This camp was a concentration camp that was mainly for political opponents, gypsies and other targeted groups.
“It was largely made up of brick barracks as well as a gas chamber which was the cause of thousands of murders.”
Then followed a tour of the second camp, Birkenau... the camp where the majority of the 1.1 million Jews who died at Auschwitz were murdered.
The students added: “The experience was very eerie as we attempted to take in the demolished gas chambers, overly-small barracks and the train tracks which led millions to their deaths.
“The visit has given us a new perspective on our daily lives. It is crucial for people to continue to visit concentration camps, such as Auschwitz, as ultimately the lives of the millions of Jewish people who were murdered must live on. It is a wake up call as to what humans can do to each other.”