On 17 January, Upper Sixth spent the day at Radley College for an annual Holocaust Day, where students had the opportunity to learn from a range of speakers about the tragic events which took place between 1939–45.
The day began with a talk from Nathan Servi, a representative of Maccabi UK, He spoke about discriminatory behaviour, such as hate crimes, and the emergence of antisemitism against members of the Jewish community within the UK in recent years and notably the effect that this has on young people. This allowed us to learn about subconscious bias and re-evaluate hidden stereotypes, in order to ensure that we are able to speak out against all forms of discriminatory behaviour. This talk was followed by an educational session by Alex Maws on the Kindertransport system which brought nearly 10,000 Jewish children to the UK and marked its 85th anniversary last year.
During lunch, a small group of us were able to spend time with the speakers and holocaust survivors. This was an invaluable experience and gave us the ability to hear accounts from all over Europe first-hand. Their inspiring perseverance and strength were admirable and I feel incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to hear their stories.
Afterward we broke out into smaller groups to hear in-depth accounts from different survivors. I was fortunate enough to listen to Joan Salter, MBE, about her experience growing up in Vichy France and her journey to America as a 4-year-old separated from her family. Joan’s story was particularly insightful as it highlighted how other governments throughout Europe, such as the Vichy in French and Franco in Spain were complicit in aiding the Nazis carry out their ‘Final Solution’ without any repercussions in the future.
The day ended with closing remarks from Dame Helen Hyde, Chair of the Jewish Heritage Foundation, who highlighted that in our current political climate, it is more imperative than ever that we learn about the power of propaganda and groups.
With Holocaust Memorial Day having taken place this week, the event was both an opportunity to remember all those who were lost to the tragic events of the Holocaust and also to ensure that we, as the future leaders of the world know when to stand up for what’s right.