Holocaust Memorial Day 2014

image from: http://www.wlv.ac.uk/images/holocaust%20logo_s.pngToday is Holocaust Memorial Day and the theme this year is Journeys. All around the world today there are events that will bring us together with our neighbours, that will strengthen bonds of respect, and will enable us to pledge to take a step towards creating a safer, better future.

As an ambassador for the Holocaust Education Trust, I’m going to be sharing the inspirational journey of Holocaust survivor Kitty Hart Moxon and my recent experience of  Auschwitz at a special school assembly on Friday.

If you want to take a step and learn about the multitude of Journeys that people were forced to undertake, in fear of what would be found at the end, then you can pledge your support here.

image from: http://journeys.hmd.org.uk/wp-content/themes/hmd/library/images/lbl_take_a_step_lg.png

If you want to find out more about the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution and in the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, you can watch the Holocaust Memorial Day 2014 youtube video here.

Lessons From Auschwitz Project Certificate and Accreditation

Today I was really pleased to receive my certificate and 3 ASDAN credits for my work on the Lessons from Auschwitz project as an ambassador for the Holocaust Education Trust

This is what the examiner wrote about my project:

Megan demonstrates a good understanding of the concentration and extermination camps as the outcome of Nazi racist policies. She stresses the need to emphasise the experiences of individuals to audiences rather than dwell exclusively on the statistics of death, horrifying as they are. Megan makes reference to contemporary examples of discrimination against homosexuals and how such prejudices should be challenged. In association with her colleague she has organised a number of methods of teaching audiences through a newspaper article, blogs on the internet, an album for the school library and planned talks within school.’

You can read about my project and see my photo album here.

photo

The White Queen

Right now, I’m busy revising for my History A/S level on Tuesday. I’ve been studying Britain from 1483 – 1529, about Richard III and the War of the Roses. I really enjoyed reading Philippa Gregory’s novel, The White Queen, which was about Edward IV’s wife, Elizabeth Woodville. The BBC have just started advertising a new 10-part series based on her series of novels, The Cousins’ War, coming soon. You can read more about it here. I can’t wait to watch it but it’s a shame that it wasn’t on earlier!

image from http://jeremyironsno1fan.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/the-white-queen-poster.jpg?w=460

A reflection of my ‘Lessons From Auschwitz’

Recently I went on a visit to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau, with the Holocaust Education Trust. As a part of my ‘Next Steps‘ project, I’d like to raise awareness and educate others about the Holocaust and its consequences. 

Before the Lessons From Auschwitz project, I was really interested in gaining a better understanding of the Holocaust, especially its effects on individuals who were a part of it, and its effects worldwide.

At the Orientation Seminar, it was fascinating to hear about pre-war Jewish life and discover what it was like for different families before they were persecuted. Looking at photos of these individuals had a great impact on me, because I felt I could relate to them, but couldn’t imagine going through the horrors of the Holocaust, which they then went on to face. I was so inspired by Kitty Hart-Moxon’s strength and courage as she told us of the suffering she faced at Auschwitz, and by her determination to educate others. She made it easier for me to imagine what life was really like at the camp after listening to her account.

I wasn’t sure what to expect before visiting the camps, and when we arrived it seemed a bit surreal. As we were walking though the dormitories, it was hard to picture the buildings full of thousands of people. I was really moved when I saw the huge pile of hair. To me, it showed how the victims were treated so callously, and how their individuality was stripped away from them as soon as they entered the camp. Seeing a child’s precious doll, with its head brutally smashed was also very touching. I could imagine the young girl had brought it with her for comfort, yet it had been broken and shattered like all the victims of the Holocaust. Trying to take in the overwhelming scale of Auschwitz was also quite difficult. In the mist it seemed to go on forever.

From my visit to Auschwitz, I’ve learnt a lot about human nature, and about how it’s impossible to place the blame of the Holocaust on a single perpetrator, because we’re all responsible for each other. People such as the train driver, who transported people into the camp, may not have been killing them directly, but still played a part in the Holocaust, as did millions of other ordinary individuals. Kitty said she saw the best and the worst of humanity at Auschwitz, and that she couldn’t have survived without the strong friendships she made. I’ve learnt we all have to look out for each other, and not only tolerate but celebrate differences in society. I aim to spread understanding of what happens when we’re not accepting of these differences, as I’ve seen by visiting Auschwitz. It’s so important to remember the atrocities that took place, to make sure future generations know the consequences of Nazi persecution and of all genocide.

Visiting Auschwitz was a humbling and life-changing experience. I’ve become much more grateful for the society I live in where I have my freedom; as I know that others like me, aren’t so lucky. 

These are a few pages from the photobook I made about my visit to Aushwitz.

auschwitz book 2auschwitz book 4auschwitz book 3

You can view the complete book online here.

Lessons from Auschwitz – Next Steps Project

On 13th February 2013, I was selected to go on a one-day visit to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau with the Holocaust Education Trust. The day was very moving and I shall never forget the experience.

As part of my Next Steps Project, my friend and I have compiled a book of our photos, together with testimonies from survivors. We shall present the book to our school in a special assembly, so that we can share our experience and pass on what we have learned. Hopefully, we shall encourage other students and members of our local community to think about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. 

auschwitz book 2auschwitz book 4auschwitz book 3

You can view my complete photo book online here.

image from http://www.jewishlegacy.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/logo4.jpg

Off to Auschwitz…..

3.25am…wake up…..

4.05am…pick up my friend, Lydia, and go to Birmingham Airport…

7.00am…fly to Krakow in Poland with 200 other sixth formers from all over the West           Midlands…

Today I’m going to visit Auschwitz with The Holocaust Educational Trust as part of my History A Level syllabus. I’m not sure what to expect, but I shall try to share my experience with you later…

This is a breakdown of the day:

05.00 – 10.45

Check-in at UK airport and fly to Kraków

10.45 – 12.15
Flight lands in Kraków
Transfer through immigration and customs to allocated coaches
Coach journey from Kraków Airport to Oświęcim

12.15 – 13.10
Visit a site of pre-war Jewish life in Oświęcim
Re-board the coaches for the journey to Auschwitz I

13.10 – 15.15
Tour of Auschwitz I
Re-board the coaches for the journey to Birkenau

15.15 – 18.30
Tour of Birkenau
Memorial service at the ruins of Crematoria II, Birkenau

18.30 – 22.30/23.00 
Re-board the coaches for the journey to Kraków Airport
Arrive Kraków Airport and fly back to the UK

Lessons from Auschwitz Orientation Seminar…

Today I travelled to Birmingham for the Lessons from Auschwitz Orientation Seminar. I listened to a Holocaust survivor, Kitty Hart-Moxon, who was at Auschwitz for two years when she was only 16 years old. Her story was both moving and inspirational. I feel honoured to hear such a personal account of the Holocaust and conditions at Auschwitz. I think it’s really important to remember, that everyone who suffered during the Holocaust was an individual person, not just a faceless statistic.  

image from http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47795000/jpg/_47795540_learningfromevil013.jpg

                           Kitty Hart-Moxon talking about her experience at Auschwitz

Read more about her here.

The discovery of Richard III

Today it was revealed that the skeleton found in a car park in Leicester is the skeleton of Richard III.  

image from http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02470/king-richard-spine_2470294c.jpg

The skull and complete spine of King Richard III (University of Leicester/AFP/Getty Images)

I’m currently studying the usurpation and reign of Richard III, as part of my AS Level History course, so I found this discovery very interesting. 

It’s fascinating to learn about the tests that were carried out to confirm the identity of the skeleton. The bones were tested for DNA against a descendent of Richard III’s sister.

I read some articles about DNA testing and learned some interesting facts. 99.9% of the DNA of two people is identical, it is only 0.1% of the DNA code sequences that vary in different people, making us all unique. This is called a genetic marker. The more closely related people are, the more likely it is that their genetic markers are similar.  

It is a DNA test, which confirmed that the skeleton found beneath a car park belonged to Richard III. 

Holocaust Memorial Day

On Sunday I went to the National Arboretum to commemorate the Holocaust Memorial Day. There was a short ceremony in the Millennium Chapel and a photographic exhibition, showing pictures taken of Auschwitz. I’m doing AS Level History, and I’m interested in the Holocaust. I’ve applied to go on a trip to Auschwitz, with the Holocaust Educational Trust and will hear by the end of the week whether I’ve been chosen to go… 

image from http://www.jewishlegacy.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/logo4.jpg