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Students' trip to Poland

The trip to Poland on 1 April for 2 nights was a brilliant success. The pupils were a credit to the school and impressed everyone they met with their fantastic behaviour.

We began our sight seeing at the Salt Mines. The mine is a product of work of tens of generations of miners, a monument to the history of Poland and to the Polish nation - a brand, present in Polish consciousness for centuries. We enjoyed seeing the different statues made from salt that the miners created. Reaching the chapel, with chandeliers made out of salt was breath taking. Weddings and religious services take place there too. The lunch at the bottom of the mine was a unique experience and we sampled many Polish delicacies.

Later, on our first day we went for a tour of the Jewish quarter and as it was Friday we saw many Jewish people preparing for the Sabbath, which was fascinating.

On the second day we were up early to visit Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps. This experience was most unusual because the sights and stories were at times hard to hear and incomprehensible to believe that a human could treat another human in such a vile, cruel way. The acts of savagery were truly upsetting and the fact that 6 million people were killed because of hatred was mind blowing.

We saw where and how people were processed, either going straight to the gas chambers or strong enough to be worked to death. We saw the punishment rooms, as if it wasn't punishment enough to be taken from your home and family, starved and treated in an inhuman way, wasn't enough! We walked through a gas chamber, which was so surreal because it was difficult to imagine the fact that many people had walked through but never walked out. Although the majority of people at the camps were Jewish, there were many Catholic priests, physically and mentally disabled people, gay people, gypsies and anyone who opposed the Nazi rule.

However, to process the sheer number of people who were killed you must think of individuals, many of whom can never be remembered because whole families were killed. For example if you Google adopt a Holocaust victim, you could pick a person, one who was the same age as yourself and think of them. Learn their story and history so that they are never forgotten. We were privileged to meet a Holocaust survivor, but her story will be told to you by year 9 and 10 pupils before the end of this school year.

We had a superb time on the trip, it was both uplifting and at times an emotional rollercoaster experience. Not only did we learn so much, but we had a lovely time at the hotel and restaurants.

More photographs can be found here.


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