Some 28 Six Two (Year 13) students recently travelled to Kraków, Poland to experience three days fully immersed in Polish history and culture.
Students visited Poland to focus particularly on learning about the events of the Holocaust, sometimes referred to as the Shoah.
Expertly guided by John Raynor from Anglia Tours, the group spent their first day in Kraków learning a huge amount about the city’s eventful history. Then, during their visit to the Galicia Jewish Museum, they were incredibly fortunate to meet and hear from one of the final remaining survivors of Auschwitz.
The group sat together and listened to Lidia, who had been personally and repeatedly operated on by Josef Mengele. They heard the account of Lidia’s life, even to the point where in 2021 she made international news headlines when she met Pope Francis, who kissed her tattoo (number 70072). Hearing directly from ‘the little girl who could not cry’, history became memory for the visiting students.
On the next morning the group visited Auschwitz I, of Arbeit Macht Frei infamy. They were given an extended tour of the site, witnessing both original museum sections as well as some more recent exhibitions not seen by many other visitors previously.
In the afternoon the group drove the few kilometres to Auschwitz II – Birkenau. The immense scale of the site, alongside the harrowing information the students heard, resulted in a visit that will have left a lasting impression on everyone on the trip. Having heard her recollections the day before, students were able to see where Lidia and her mother would have lived while in the camp. Before dinner that evening, the group toured sites within what would have been the Kraków ghetto.
Before heading to Kraków Airport on Sunday morning, the group made one final stop: the site of the former forced labour camp Płaszów. A bittersweet story to end with left everyone conscious of the profound emotional and historical journey they had had the privilege of sharing together.