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Holocaust Memorial Day: remembering, reflecting and ensuring we never forget

Last week in school we marked Holocaust Memorial Day through a range of activities. 

Year 7 and 8 students listened to an assembly providing background on the Holocaust that prepared them for a discussion activity in their Learning Communities about the importance of memorialising this event. With Holocaust survivors gradually becoming fewer in number, the weight of responsibility for making sure the Holocaust is not forgotten falls on those of the current and future generations. 

Students in Years 9 and above listened to a webcast conversation with a Holocaust Survivor, Eva Clark BEM. By turns, Eva related both warm anecdotes of enduring spirit and chilling stories of murder from her parents’ years in multiple Nazi slave labour camps across Europe in the 1940s. This testimony culminated with Eva’s own birth in April 1945 – on a cart under the very gates of Mauthausen Concentration Camp. She told us that her nine-months pregnant mother weighed just 5 stone as a result of the starvation inflicted on her. Eva herself weighed only 3 lbs at birth. They only survived because of a shortage of poison gas in those last days of the Holocaust and the Allied liberation force that arrived when she was just two days old. 

Hundreds of staff and students listened to this remarkable hour of testimony in silence. Eva was a totally charming and inspiring speaker and the experience was afterwards described as “fascinating” “stunning” and “phenomenal” by different members of our TGS community. We are deeply grateful to Eva for sharing her story with us and for the Holocaust Educational Trust for facilitating the event. 

Thanks to Eva, the national memorial ceremony on Thursday evening was even more poignant than usual for the students and families of TGS who logged on to listen to the webcast and who joined thousands of other households across the UK who lit a candle of remembrance at 8pm. 

A recorded version of the ceremony can be viewed via the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website

Tagged  Sixth Form