Newbury reporter Mirek Gosney talks to St Bart’s sixth form about Nazi forced labour ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day tomorrow
Students at a Newbury school have been deepening their knowledge about the Holocaust ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
And newburytoday’s community reporter spoke to them this week to add to their understanding of Nazi persecution.
As a Beacon School, Newbury’s St Bartholomew’s School is committed to delivering in-depth Holocaust education for all year groups, both in class and through assemblies.
In this spirit, staff invited reporter Mirek Gosney yesterday (Thursday) to speak to around 200 Year 12 students about a film he produced on a related but lesser-known aspect of Nazi persecution.
Building Hitler's Empire delves into the true story of the millions of men, women and children the Nazis forced into servitude — told from the perspective of Mr Gosney’s Czech great-grandfather, Miroslav Jeřábek, who was conscripted and sent to work in Germany.
Mr Gosney discussed the process of making the film and stressed the importance of employing a fact-based, sensitive approach to debating controversial topics over engaging with online hysteria and misinformation.
Students asked questions and a smaller cohort of Film and Media students stayed behind afterwards to question Mr Gosney about career opportunities in film and journalism.
“It was a hugely beneficial event, which absolutely developed the knowledge of our students,” said Beacon School coordinator and sixth form house leader, Mark Owen.
“One of my criminology students, who also takes history, said the presentation was a real eye-opener and educated him on something he had little knowledge of.
“The employability knowledge which he gave our students was invaluable.”
Year 11, 12 and 13 students also had the opportunity to attend an after-school screening of the Holocaust drama Schindler's List, directed by Steven Spielberg.
Mr Owen is overseeing the implementation of the national scheme in St Bart’s, in partnership with the Centre of Holocaust Education at University College London.
He also organised a whole school assembly on Wednesday (January 24) ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day tomorrow (Saturday).
Students listened to speeches by headteacher David Fitter, Mr Owen, head students Isabella Warner and Armand Graham and Year 8 pupil Ada Swift-Marshall.
Some sixth form students are also planning a trip to Poland from March 27-29.
It will include a visit to Kazimierz, Krakow, meeting a Holocaust survivor at the Galicia Museum and a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.
Students will also visit Rynek Podgorski to learn more about the former ghetto, living conditions and forced labour.
Years 7 and 8 are currently studying the ‘Fragility of Freedom’ and Anne Frank’s experience in their year group assemblies, while Years 10 and 11 are considering ‘What was the Holocaust?’ and how historical perspective can be distorted in the modern world.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day takes place each year on January 27 (Saturday) to commemorate the millions of victims of Nazi persecution between 1933 and 1945.
It also marks the date when the Red Army liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945.