Just prior to the Christmas Holidays, the Second Year, RE undergraduates visited the National Holocaust Centre near Newark on Trent in Nottinghamshire. This was a first visit for Edge Hill University but proved to be well worth the journey.
Our visit began with an introductory talk and a tour of the ground floor which was set out like a traditional museum with artefacts and factual information.
However for me personally, the afternoon was the highlight of the day. Firstly we were very privileged to meet Janine Webber who shared her experiences of growing up as a Polish Jew after the German army occupied her native Lwow in 1941. Janine now aged 81 shared her truly harrowing story of how her Parents, Grandmother and younger brother were murdered by the Nazis. How she was betrayed by people who had promised to care for her and how she lived in a hole without seeing daylight for a year.
If anyone had any right to be angry or bitter it was Janine but she was an incredibly, spirited, warm and forgiving person who seemed to bear no hatred or malice towards those who had caused her such pain. She said her only feeling was one of sadness.
The second part of the afternoon was spent in part of the centre that had been set up to follow the experiences of Leo, a fictional German-Jewish boy living in Berlin during Nazi rule. The Journey is the first exhibition to be built in the UK, solely for the teaching of the Holocaust to primary-aged children. Leo’s story unfolds in a series of rooms, which not only detail Leo’s experience but also that of children who lived during the Holocaust and survived.
Although designed for Primary school children we all found it a moving and inspirational experience.
The Holocaust Centre is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the Nottinghamshire countryside that allows visitors to reflect sensitively on the Holocaust. I would wholeheartedly recommend a visit to anyone who is engaged in teaching or learning about the Holocaust.
To find out more visit the Holocaust Centre website