A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to visit Auschwitz Birkenau with the Holocaust Memorial Trust after being selected by my school. The trip was unsurprisingly one of the most educational experiences of my life, leaving me with a multitude of questions and thoughts to consider and ponder.
The Holocaust Memorial Trust runs a ‘follow up’ seminar to allow you to discuss your ideas with fellow students as part of the trip experience. During the seminar we explored whether or not the trip had matched our expectations and what we felt would be the most important message to carry forward from the trip should be. These discussions were eye opening; a very quick consensus was reached where we agreed that society had progressed greatly since the Second World War, however, in what was possibly a saddening turn of events the general body of opinion also felt that there was still a long way to go in battling inequality, racism and prejudices within society. So yet again I left the eclectic community that surrounds the Holocaust Memorial Trust with more questions than answers.
I have remained in contact with many of my fellow students who were on the trip with me; setting up an exhibition as part of our agreement to spread what we had learnt, and personally to go some way to carrying through a commitment that I made when I returned from the trip: to encourage people to remain conscious of discrimination and to remain active in their attempts to build a fair and more equal society
Jack Sanderson, 22/09/12