In commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday, 27th January 2023, informative displays and were exhibited throughout Stanmore College. The plasma screens displayed a lone flickering candle accompanied by a song played in the background invoking far-reaching sentiments through lyrics relating to a light in the darkness.
A series of events were held to remember and increase awareness among students and staff of the Holocaust and genocides in other countries throughout the world.
Students and staff across all subjects at the College were reminded of all those who lost their lives or were affected by the Holocaust; this was done via tutorials, in class and in communal areas onsite.
Having reflected on the words of a poem that portrayed the loneliness, fear and trauma that innocent people experienced as they awaited their untimely fate, I.T students joined Curriculum Manager, Jeya Perumal, and their teachers to light a candle and observe a minute’s silence in their honour.
Following a discussion led by teacher, Anil Katta, on the Holocaust, Science students watched video footage outlining the history of that sad time and the effect it had on so many people.
Health and Social Care students, under the guidance of teacher, Elizabeth Georgiou, linked Sigmund Freud, Austrian Neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, to that period. They heard how Freud’s Jewish heritage had led to his sisters being murdered in concentration camps in 1941 though Freud himself had made it to England with his wife and daughter. The student had prepared posters on the importance of empathy, freedom and respect for others.
Higher Education students from Alison Tonkin’s class spoke of a poignant video they had watched; an elderly Holocaust survivor, and his granddaughter, had been interviewed on Newsround. The HE students had been particularly moved by the granddaughter’s determination to visit the places where her ancestors suffering had taken place.
HE student, Charley McNay, commented on the emotional strength of the elderly male survivor in the footage who, remarkably, responded to a question on his views of those who subjected people to such horror by saying ‘despite all that happened there is no place for hate in my heart’.
Julia Jordan’s ESOL students had discussed the life of Helen Aronson, one of only 750 people to be liberated from the Ghetto. Her family had been subjected to slave labour and forced to make uniforms for the German army before her father was murdered at Chelmno. For some of the students present, this had been the first they had heard of the Holocaust; all were in agreement with the importance of learning lessons from the past and preventing future discrimination.
At 4.00pm all staff were invited to attend the Main Hall where a candle was lit by the Principal, Annette Cast, to remember those who were murdered for who they were and to stand against prejudice and hatred today. The day concluded with staff listening to a contemporary song that represented light and hope in troubled times and observing a minute’s silence.