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Reflections Of Holocaust Memorial Day

29 January 2021

Our Year 6-8 boys marked Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday 27 January by taking part in a number of thought-provoking talks and reflections, including the reading of a story written by Tom Palmer, author of After the War.

The theme of this year’s day was ‘Be the Light in the Darkness’ and across the UK, at 20:00, families lit candles and placed them in their windows to remember those who died in all genocides and to stand against prejudice and hatred today.

Here are a few written reflections of the day:

Today has been very informative. First, Mrs Olhausen gave us a helpful briefing. Second, Mr Winter’s talk gave us a brief but interesting history of Judaism. Next, we watched a documentary on the life of Kitty Hart-Moxon in the concentration camps. It was very moving. Personally, I was surprised at how violent and brutal the Nazis actually were. Finally, Mrs Olhausen read a story called ‘The Question’ in which a Holocaust survivor visits a school. He gives a speech which inspires Naomi, the main character, to find the bravery to ask a vitally important question in assembly, and all of the pupils join in. At the end of the story, the author, Tom Palmer, brings you in and encourages the reader to do something positive for Holocaust Memorial Day.

Joseph S – Year 6

We started the day with an introduction by Mrs Olhausen. We then watched a video of Mr Winter, in which he read a very moving poem which told me about a mother who left her two-year-old daughter while she went to a concentration camp. The emotion in it startled me a bit. Next we watched a video of an Auschwitz survivor visiting the camp with girls who were the same age as her when she was in the camp. It was very interesting to see someone who had been there and was coming back knowing every bit of it. The lady spoke of all the things you needed to do to survive the camp, for instance you couldn’t have any emotion otherwise you would just fail. Just think about that for a moment – not being able to care about anything otherwise if you did, you would die. Horrendous.

We then had our break and then watched a video of Mrs Olhausen reading us a story by Tom Palmer called ‘The Question’, which also shocked me. Finally, we took part in a Q&A session, which was very interesting and included several teachers and students telling their stories. It was brilliant to learn more about The Beacon Community.

In conclusion, it was a very moving and informative event. Although I already knew a lot about The Holocaust, I learnt a lot more and learned some things about other genocides.

I would like to thank the Beacon Staff for the smooth operation of this event and I hope you all lit a candle at 8pm.

Joe B – Year 7

Today our teachers put together a selection of videos, including a documentary of a survivor of The Holocaust. I personally really enjoyed the day and learnt a lot from it. Seeing both the documentary of the survivor and hearing the stories really changed my point of view of the whole Holocaust.  It made me want to learn more about it and it filled me with questions, which is why I am glad that they enabled the chat function for us to ask some.

I had lots of questions, which were all answered. I went in knowing nothing about The Holocaust and now know much more. The whole background was very moving and so were the stories we heard. The whole of today was very well-structured, even though it was online. It was a really moving day for us all and we all have learnt a lot from it. I cannot imagine what everyone involved in The Holocaust had to go through and I don’t think anyone could imagine.

Freddie M – Year 8