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S2 Book Talks for Holocaust Memorial Day January 2020

S2 classes will be participating in library book talks, during January, to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January.

Holocaust Memorial Day is a time for everyone to pause to remember the millions of people who have been murdered or whose lives have been changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. On HMD we can honour the survivors of these regimes and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2020 marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp and HMD 2020 will include marking the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda, which began in April 1994 and the 40th anniversary of the end of the Genocide in Cambodia, which ended in 1979.

On HMD we can honour the survivors of these regimes and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.

 

One of the ways in which we will mark Holocaust Memorial Day will be in the S2 Library book talks, when the books Once, Now and Then by Morris Gleitzman will be discussed with pupils. Our S6 Auschwitz Ambassadors, Molly Buckley and Natasha Ogle will contribute to the talks and share some of their impressions from their trip to Poland and the Auschwitz camp.

 

Imagine waking up to find that the neighbours you have known all your life and even sat next to at school, now walk past you without stopping, now forbid their children from playing with yours, now spit at you and even attack you.

Imagine having nowhere to turn, that the walls are closing in and that there is no escape. Imagine that you have done nothing wrong, yet you are to be punished nonetheless and no one will stand by you.

From 1939 until 1945 the world was at war, and the leader of Germany, Adolf Hitler, tried to destroy the Jewish people in Europe. His followers, the Nazis, and those who supported them, murdered six million Jews including one and a half million children. They also killed a lot of other people, many of whom offered shelter to the Jews. We call this time of killing the Holocaust.

Morris Gleitzman’s grandfather was a Jew from Krakow in Poland. He left there long before that time, but his extended family didn’t and most of them perished.

He read a book about Janusz Korczak, a Polish Jewish doctor and children’s author who devoted his life to caring for young people. Over many years he helped run an orphanage for two hundred Jewish children. In 1942, when the Nazis murdered these orphans, Janusz Korczak was offered his freedom but chose to die with the children rather than abandon them.

Janusz Korczak became Morris Gleitzman’s hero. His story sowed a seed in the author’s imagination.

I’m in the mountains and I shouldn’t have been and I almost caused a riot.
   It was because of the carrot.
   You know how when a nun serves you very hot soup from a big metal pot and she makes you lean in close so she doesn’t drip and the steam from the pot makes your glasses go all misty and you can’t wipe them because you’re holding your dinner bowl and the fog doesn’t clear even when you pray to God, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Pope and Adolf Hitler?
   That’s happening to me.

Every year on 27 January, the world marks Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD).

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) is a charity which works to raise awareness of HMD. You can find out more about what they do on their website. www.hmd.org.uk