Bingley Grammar School

A trip to Auschwitz

Arek and Miss Shah in Auschwitz aOn 21st March, Miss Shah - one of our Humanities teachers specialising in Religious Studies - was invited to accompany Haulocaust survivor Arek Hersh, to Auschwitz.

Miss Shah writes,

"On Monday 21st March I travelled with Holocaust Survivor Arek Hersh, his wife Jean and 233 others (including the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis) to Auschwitz Birkeneau, a trip organised by the United Hebrew congregation. It is a day that I will never forget.

Arek and his wife Jean have been to visit Bingley Grammar School twice now to talk about Arek’s harrowing experiences during the Holocaust when he lost 81 members of his family.

I have heard Arek’s story many times but to hear him tell his story in the very place where the atrocities took place was an overwhelming experience and very moving.  A significant part of the day for me was hearing a memorial prayer sung in the dark at the heart of Auschwitz Birkenau camp, in close proximity to where Arek spent most of his time in the camp.

It isn’t easy for Arek to go back to Auschwitz but he feels very strongly about doing so as he wants the next generation to hear his story and spread the message that prejudice and discrimination is wrong.

Following my visit, I will be organising a key stage 4 and 5 trip to Auschwitz in the near future. Arek and Jean have said that they will accompany us on a Bingley Grammar School trip to Poland which will give students a direct link with the historical atrocities which took place during WW2 - we are extremely lucky that they have offered to join us!

Arek and Jean have asked me on their behalf to thank all the students who have written letters to them and to all the staff who have made them feel so welcome at Bingley Grammar.

They are very much part of our school community now and we look forward to seeing them at Bingley Grammar in the future.

I feel very privileged to have travelled to Auschwitz with Arek Hersh, who survived the camp, and I would like Bingley Grammar school students to share what was a once in a life time experience."

< Back to all news stories