FOUR Burton students paid a visit to the site where one of the worst atrocities of modern times took place.
Lewis Belcher and Grace Hallam, sixth-form students at Paulet High School, in Stapenhill, were selected to take part in a visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, the infamous site of the Holocaust.
They were also joined by Blessed Robert Sutton Catholic Sports College students Dominic Emery and Holly Castor on the trip which was organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust, and with just four places available for students from the schools, whose sixth form departments share links, the teenagers were asked to state why they would like to go, with the four deemed to have put forward the most convincing reasons.
Matthew Goodall, history teacher at Paulet, who joined the quartet on the trip, said the students as well as himself had taken a lot from the visit, and despite knowing about the atrocities that took place at the camp, he admitted he was taken aback by what he saw.
He said: “Auschwitz is a very emotive and poignant place to visit and it’s important to pay your respects. You learn about the Holocaust when you’re young, and you get an idea of what you’re likely to see, but the scale of what we saw, particularly in Birkenau, still comes as a shock.
“The biggest impact was when we saw the children’s and women’s shoes and the suitcases. It’s a really powerful place.”
Mr Goodall believes it is important that future generations continue to visit so what took place during the Second World War is never forgotten.
He added: “The students were wonderful in their attitude, they were a real credit, they represented the schools brilliantly. I genuinely believe the experience will be something which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
“It is one of the defining moments of the 20th century and it should never be forgotten and as long as people keep visiting it never will be.”