Auschwitz Programme

Categories: School News


On the 5th September two S6 pupils, Tanya Murphy and Jakob Taylor, travelled to Auschwitz as part of the Lessons from Auschwitz programme which involves secondary schools throughout Scotland. Below is an account of their experience from their own perspective.

Before I was told about this trip I would never have imagined that I would one day stand in the grounds of one of the largest death camps ever created, where millions of human beings lost their lives at the hands of Nazi Soldiers – Auschwitz Birkenau. I was understandably quite apprehensive about this visit beforehand as I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Everyone has heard stories of Auschwitz but it is a different thing entirely to witness it first hand.

The thing that struck me personally was the sheer size of it all. Auschwitz has three different camps with Birkenau alone covering 400 acres with evidence that the Nazis were planning to expand this to an even larger area. No matter how hard I tried, I could not begin to imagine the people that must have been there or comprehend the fact that I was walking on the same path as thousands and perhaps millions had taken their final steps. The figures were simply too overwhelming. One image which will stay with me forever is the large pile of hair that we were shown which belonged to the victims. This was just a small sample yet covered almost an entire room and weighed roughly 2 tonnes.

Perhaps the main thing that I have taken from the visit is not the scale of what happened but more the human element. It has taught me to think of the holocaust not in terms of numbers but instead with regards to each person as an individual human being. Every single person who was killed each lived their own individual lives and had their own stories to tell, and so I think it is our duty to remember each and every one of them.


Jakob Taylor, S6