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Jordan Lock writes about her experience of going to Auschwitz.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I boarded the plane to Krakow on the 22nd February.

There had been a preparation seminar where we had the opportunity to listen to a Holocaust survivor called Rudi, he began by telling the story from his viewpoint; he told us everything that happened to him, he then kindly gave us the opportunity to ask him any questions. Next we were placed in groups that enabled us to mix with students from other schools, so that new friendships could blossom. I personally think this was a great way to organise the preparation phase, as it served as an introduction both to the place and to the people we would be travelling with.

The day of the trip soon came and it began early. Ryan and I both made our way through Luton airport, through security and finally onto the plane.

The journey wasn’t too long, around two hours, however, it felt a much quicker that that because everyone was having conversations with each other; we were all talking about how we’d feel when we arrived, and what we were expecting to see.

It was very snowy and cold when we landed in Krakow, with the temperature being around –5 degrees.

Five different coaches, full of people, took us to Auschwitz, which was our first stop. I was surprised with the size of the place, it was much bigger than I had originally imagined. We were given a set of headphones each, in addition, we had a very friendly, helpful guide, who was very informative.

We had the opportunity to visit many of the different buildings: barracks, hospitals and workhouses where the Jews had to work extremely long hours. Being there among the buildings increased my shock over how humans have the ability to treat each other that badly.

After Auschwitz, we went to a second camp a couple of minutes away called Birkenau; this was both a concentration camp and an extermination camp. The majority of this camp was demolished when the Germans heard the news of the Russian invasion: so they blew up as much evidence as possible to conceal their wrongs.

The day quickly passed and before we knew it we were at the memorial based in Birkenau. I took a moment to look up and saw over 200 candles: each student and teacher held a candle in remembrance; it is a sight I’ll never forget. Auschwitz is an experience I’ll never forget.

I am ever so grateful for having the chance to go on this trip, I would highly recommend it to anyone who has an opportunity to go; it is a period in history we should always remember. We are the generation now responsible for continuing that memorial, to prevent it ever happening again.

Jordon Lock

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