On Thursday 8th March, Ruth George MP visited the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp with three students from High Peak, as part of a group of young people from across the East Midlands.
Megan Shaw and Harvey Mellor, 6th form students from Glossopdale School attended with history tutor Dawn Smith Langridge alongside Florence Hewett, a gap year student from Buxton. The visit was organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust to raise awareness of the Holocaust among young people and politicians, and to encourage discussion about the lessons we can learn for today.
Ruth said of the visit: “It was a very moving and thought-provoking day. I have read about the Holocaust, but to see the barracks and gas chambers where so many terrible atrocities were carried out, and particularly the many photos and personal items left behind, brought home both the personal tragedies, and also something of the scale of the atrocity.
“It was a very emotional experience, and as a mum you can’t help but feel for the millions of families affected. But it was also very uplifting to visit with a large group of young people who are committed to taking back the message that we must try to prevent our communities from becoming divided by blame for any particular group of people for problems with our economy or society. I want to thank the young people who attended, as it was a difficult day, but I am very proud they rose to the challenge and are prepared to be Holocaust Ambassadors for the future.
“For me, the Holocaust is still relevant as we are going through challenging and divisive times. The global financial crash and years of austerity are creating levels of poverty that we haven’t seen in Britain since the 1930’s, so whether it is bankers, immigrants, scroungers, Muslims or Jews, it is important to consider where a culture of blame can lead us as a society.
“As a politician, I want to encourage honest and respectful debate on the factual issues of all our decisions and make sure I am as open and transparent as I can be, so we can work together to find the best solutions for our country.”