Marking Holocaust Memorial Day at Fleetwood High School

At the end of January, Year 9 students at Fleetwood High School marked Holocaust Memorial Day, the International Day of Remembrance which saw over 11 million people murdered at the hands of the Nazis, before, during and shortly after World War Two.

Students in Year 9 were presented with an assembly where the reading of the Statement of Commitment was explained to them, recognising both the impact of the Holocaust and the steps needed in order to learn from the past. The assembly was interspersed by readings of Holocaust poetry, diary excerpts, song and dance interpretations as the theme for the 2018 HMD was, ‘The Power of Words’. Each student who took part in the assembly also provided the audience with a synopsis of why their piece was selected and how their authors faired during their Holocaust experience. The students also saw a powerful video provided by the Holocaust Education Trust which addressed Holocaust denial and challenged students to be witnesses to the atrocities in order to prevent such things happening again. The question was posed, ‘Would this be likely to happen again in our lifetime?’ To which students were quickly directed to information about Rwanda and Darfur and the genocides happening right now. Student Sophie Barnett said of the event, “It is so important that we are made aware of this happening in the world so that we can put a stop to it”. Other students noted that the assembly which culminated in Holocaust Survivor, Janine Webber’s Testimony was, “Moving, powerful and invaluable as we now become witnesses able to share Janine’s story with others”.

Miss Orange, event organiser invited student representatives to light candles in remembrance to Holocaust victims. Each student had a candle so every student could mark the memory of one person from the Holocaust, there were 175 candles lit during the assembly. Sophie Rickard wrote after the event, ‘History means nothing if nothing is learned from past mistakes. There is absolutely nothing that compares to the Holocaust and I want to thank my school for organising this for us. I feel really privileged to be able to hear Janine speak about her experiences’. Students had prepared for the assembly and the testimony a few weeks before the event in lessons and a display was also arranged in the Learning Resource Centre with suggested reading for students and a Book of Remembrance for them to sign provided. Students have since started to write letters to Janine to thank her for her testimony and express how the event has impacted their own lives.

Mrs Bell-Fairclough, Head of Year 9  said of the event, “A powerful assembly which touched the hearts of every individual involved. It is so important that we understand the horrors of the Holocaust so we can educate other people and prevent these terrible crimes against humanity happening again".