Bingley Grammar School

Arek & Jean Hersh Visit 2023

Miss S Shah writes:

On Monday 9th October we welcomed our friends, Holocaust Survivor Arek Hersh and his wife Jean back into school to give a talk to Y7 students. Arek and Jean firstly had lunch with a group of students from Y7-Y13. The students then had a Q and A session with Arek and Jean. Finn R and Joseph W in Y13, met Arek and Jean when they were in Y7. They both told Arek and Jean about the impact Arek's story has had on them. Joesephine A sung a beautiful rendition of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' which both Arek and Jean thoroughly enjoyed. 
Arek and Jean then gave a talk to all students in Y7. The students heard Arek's harrowing story and were shocked at what he went through from the age of 11 during WW11. Arek spoke about his time in Auschwitz and the death trains and how his family (81 members) were killed by the Nazis. Arek was liberated by the Russian Army in 1945 and was brought to live in the Lake District with 300 other Jewish children.
It was wonderful to have Arek and Jean back in school. It is always such an honour to hear Arek's story first hand and his and Jean's message of the importance of kindness and respect for one another. I would also like to say a huge well done to all the students who listened so respectfully to Arek and Jean's talk. You are a credit to Bingley Grammar school. Thank you.

Joseph W writes:

Arek Hersh is a name well know at Bingley Grammar, due to his numerous visits where he tells his story and his first hand experience of Holocaust, Arek Herse was originally born in 1928, in a Jewish Family in Poland, after the Nazi occupation of Poland Arek was eventually sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, he faced unimaginable hardship and narrowly avoided death of many occasions. Once liberated in 1945, he was sent to Windermere in order to recuperate and recover while attempts were made to find his family; in which Arek was made aware that 81 members of his family had been lost. Despite this hardship, Arek talks of tolerance and respect for people of all faiths and none.

I first listened to Areks talk in 2017, at the time I could only listen; but in his most recent talk, in 2023, I could understand his message and I’m sure as I gain more experience I will find new meaning and understanding of Areks “Detail of History”. Arek message is inspiration and is one which has helped teach me that money, wealth and class are worth nothing incomprison to promoting for better and fair world for everyone. In a time where religious intolerance and prejudice is rife across the world Arek's message of tolerance and respect is one which everyone should hear, and it really was a privilege to be able listen to him again.


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