Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting DN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Dudley students visit Auschwitz - the worst crime scene in human history
Updated 11:23am Monday 17th March 2014 in Local
The Holocaust Educational Trust took a group of local students to Auschwitz this month and News reporter Adam Smith joined them.
THE Auschwitz concentration and death camp complex dwarfs the size of Dudley.
And the death camp the Nazis built killed the equivalent of the town's population on a weekly basis.
So even if you imagine everyone you have ever known being killed it still does not come close to the amount the Nazi's murdered every day in one corner of Poland when they were implementing their evil Final Solution.
Seeing a giant glass cabinet filled with the hair of 140,000 victims at the Auschwitz museum is jolting.
And peering at the jewellery, suitcases, shoes and other belongings of victims which are just yards away from a pile of poison gas canisters used to kill over a million Jews is an overwhelming experience.
An emotional and harrowing experience which will stay with Dudley sixth-formers who visited Auschwitz for the rest of their lives.
Earlier this month the Holocaust Educational Trust flew 200 students to Poland to see for themselves the worst crime scene in human history.
Now the sixteen and seventeen year-olds who stood in the gas chambers where men, women and children were killed will be ambassadors of the trust in a bid to ensure the Holocaust is never forgotten.
Bishop Milner Catholic College student, Katie Jones, aged 17, stood solemnly on the train tracks which transported Jews, Gypsies, political prisoners and other enemies of the twisted Nazi ideology to their death and reflected on the mass slaughter.
She said: "It It has been a very emotional day and one that I will never forget.
"It was so sad to see all the children's toys, shoes and the victim's hairs on show in the museum."
She added: "I did not realise how big Auschwitz was until I cam and seen it for my own eyes."
Fellow pupil Munashe Muchena, who along with Katie, will present a psychology based project about the visit to fellow pupils.
She said: "The size of the place and knowing what happened here is very moving.
"The fact so many people died in one place is something we cannot forget."
Teacher Jane Hopley added: "To see all the human hair in one room, braided and platted and so much of it, was very upsetting to see.
"It was very powerful experience to say the least and something which I am sure will take time for a lot of the youngsters on the trip to comprehend."
She added: "They will be ambassadors now for the trust and will tell friends and family what they have seen here and that will help the next generation learn about what happened here."
The Auschwitz complex sprawls across 40 square kilometres comprising of three main camps and 45 sub-camps. The students first visited the town of Oswiecim which started WW2 which 7,000 jews and now has none. The group then toured the original Auschwitz concentration camp which the Nazis used to house then kill Polish political prisoners before heading to Auschwitz-Birkenau where the extermination of over a million people was carried out with military precision.
The day ended with a candle-light service at the end of the train tracks where so many people met their own end to remember those who perished.
The visit helped the students realise their generation will have to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive after everyone who survived World War Two dies.