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Posted on: 12/07/2018

Lessons from Auschwitz Project - Next Steps

Earlier this year, two students from St Charles, Raafay Khalid and Robert Norat, visited Auschwitz as part of the Lessons from Auschwitz project. You can read all about their experiences here

Following on from this visit, the students participated in the Next Steps project. They have created a video about their experiences and have written an explanation as to why they chose to make the video:

For the Next Steps project, we were conflicted as to whether we should prepare and talk through a traditional PowerPoint presentation to share our experiences from our visit with the College community, or whether to design a poster of some kind for circulation. However, in the end we decided on an alternative option, which was to create a video detailing our experiences of visiting Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau. We believed a video would have a more powerful impact upon our audience. We also felt that a video would be a more effective means of spreading the message as it has the potential to reach more people via the College website and the College's internal portal system. It could also possibly be shown in assemblies and RE classes or during tutorial time. The idea for the video arose from discussion with the Head of Learning Support, Mary McHugh, who organised the trip for us at College. She was keen for us to try and create something unique and special for our Next Steps project, as it was the College’s first year participating in the programme. The video itself was directed and edited by Jaleel Sobers, who accompanied us on our trip in March.

Both of us were interviewed on camera with images as stimulus to help us express our thoughts and emotions about our experiences. I (Robert) did not want to be filmed, but instead provided a voiceover to convey my thoughts with respect to the various images I was shown by Jaleel. These images included living conditions of the victims in the concentration camps and family pictures of Nazi officials. The video method provided me with an interesting perspective as, for example, when I was shown some photos and asked to describe my feelings upon entering Auschwitz One and Birkenau. I didn’t feel the same sense of anguish when I visited Auschwitz One as I did when I visited Birkenau, perhaps because it wasn’t built to be a concentration camp in the first place. But, upon entering Birkenau, I had a much more stark feeling due to it being a sparse field that had chimneys jutting up every few metres.That made me feel saddened as I knew the purpose of those chimneys was to dispose of the bodies of the victims. The fact that these chimneys also went on for miles upon miles didn’t help quell these feelings. It really helped me to understand the magnitude of the genocide that took place there.

Robert: "The video aimed to track our movements through the camps and the recording concludes with us thanking the Holocaust Educational Trust for giving us both this amazing opportunity to visit Auschwitz and to communicate our conclusions with the College community."

Raafay: “Talking through the photos we had taken and looking at other images helped me condense my thoughts and hone in on specific parts of the visit that really impacted on me emotionally, images like the suitcases and shoes. The interview also helped challenge some of my misconceptions about Auschwitz.”

Both boys would like to thank The Holocaust Education Trust and the College for this enlightening experience.