In the snowbound and icy month of February, nineteen Year 11 students from Hinchley Wood School had the opportunity to travel to the historic city of Krakow in Poland as part of their Religious Studies programme. Arriving at Krakow students were greeted by a bitter cold and a city with fascinating architecture and illuminated markets.

The visit included Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp in the Second World War, the site where inconceivable inhumane acts occurred. On 28 January 1945, just over 65 years ago, the Soviet Army liberated the inmates of Auschwitz, the remainder of the individuals who had been sentenced to an uncertain fate during the Holocaust. As the students walked around the emptiness of the silent railway tracks and buildings, signs informed visitors of the events that had taken place where they stood.

Following the atrocities that occurred at such concentration camps the motto “Never Again” has been adopted in the hope that we remember the dehumanising that took place, the people who were persecuted and victims under the Nazi policies because of their race, religion, ethnic and social beliefs. However, it seems that some have acrimoniously ignored this as we look to subsequent crimes of genocide in Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda.

Prior to my visit I discovered that two members of my family had experienced the fear and horror of Auschwitz and yet had somehow survived. One wanted to forget the nightmare of the past and look forward to the future; the other also wanted to look towards a better future but strived for our generation to remember to learn valuable lessons from the past.