In Week 1, Year 10 History visited the Sydney Jewish Museum as part of their studies on the Holocaust. The excursion ran in three parts, a tour of the museum, a seminar and a testimony provided by a survivor of the Holocaust.
The students were led around the museum in small groups, viewing artefacts related to the Holocaust that were provided by survivors living in Australia. Some of the groups were also fortunate enough to visit the ‘Children’s Memorial’, created to commemorate the 1.5 million children who were murdered during the Holocaust. The room focuses on children related to Australian survivors and contains a wall of tiled photos and a basin containing 1.5 million drops of water to represent those who were lost.
The highlight of the excursion was meeting and listening to the testimony of two Holocaust survivors, a privilege that our students were very aware of. One of the survivors was 91-year-old Jack who was born in Poland in 1928. He was placed in a ghetto at 11 and then separated from his family at the age of 12 when he was sent to work in a munitions factory at Auschwitz. As the Russians began closing in on Poland in 1944, he was forced on a death march from Auschwitz to Buchenwald Concentration camp, a distance of 250 kms. He was the only member of his family to survive. Some of our students were moved to tears by his testimony and his simple statements about survival and the importance of forgiveness.
This was our fifth visit to the Jewish Museum and is an excursion that has inspired some of our current senior students to select Modern History as a HSC subject.