Holocaust Memorial Day

Today marks Holocaust memorial day, which falls on the 66th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. On the site, http://www.hmd.org.uk/resources/podcasts/untold-stories-political-parties , various public figures have told their stories about the Holocaust, with David Miliband recounting how Catholic farmers helped hide his family from the Nazis and he applauds the courage shown by those who protected Jews from persecution during the war. The guardian features 5 moving stories from those who survived genocides from the Holocaust to Rwanda and I urge you to take a look at them- http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/26/holocaust-rwanda-cambodia-survivors .

The purpose of HMD is about remembering the victims and those whose lives have been changed beyond recognition of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and the ongoing atrocities today in Darfur. I know from visiting Auschwitz how vital it is to remeber what has happened, the enormity and the scale of it as if we remeber the past, we can continue to learn from it. As the website for the Memorial day states itself “by learning from the lessons of the past, we can create a safer, better future.” Lets hope education and tolerance triumph over prejudice and  ensure that an unspeakable tragedy like this will NEVER happen again!

Never again,

Words uttered over and over again,

We look back at the camps, the suffering in horror,

In disbelief, in disgust, in shame.

I still hear the echoes in the chamber from those dark days,

Cries, screams of those who were shown no mercy,

Nor should they fade away,

Nor should we forget.

Today we light the candle to remember,

To reflect, to hope, we light the flame,

That we can have a better tommorow,

That we will never suffer like this again,



My defence of my history education- Pre GOVE!

 Writing in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, Michael Gove lamented the absence in the curriculum of figures such as Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale and Horatio Nelson, and he wants more “facts” in England’s national curriculum, as he launches a review of what children are taught- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12227491 .

He called the current curriculum was “sub-standard” – Mr Gove, I beg to differ. At high school in history we studied many things ranging from the Middle Ages, the Tudors, Slavery, Industrial Revolution and the cold war. We did a depth study on Germany bewteen the wars and saw first hand how people can be manipulated by media, by fear into believing a horrid racial ideology that culminated in the Holocaust. We learned about how in Britain at the early 20th century, the suffragettes gained the vote, and how in the 16th century how the reformation created religious turmoil for many people.

A theme running through all of these is the lives of ORDINARY people, of how they influenced change and how they were caught up in it. To me this is a more valuable history than solely learning about so called IMPORTANT figures such as Churchill and Nightingale. To me, learning about the treaties after WW1 is vital due to its consequences which still plague us today (the middle east, the Balkans etc).

I urge you Mr Gove, do NOT sacrifice such a rich story in favour of teaching solely about so called important figures. These issues such as ideology, nationalism and equality still have relevance in todays world and by learning about the above aspects of history has allowed me and will allow others a greater understanding of the owrld around them and how it was shaped. I went on a history trip to Auschwitz and I witnessed a place that bore witness to how evil humanity and hatred can be. THOSE WHO DON’T LEARN FROM THEIR HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT!

You wish to change,

Change the way we learn,

Change the things we learn,

To you dates and figures reign supreme,

Nelson, churchill on their pedastals reign supreme.

What about how we fought for fairness, for equality,

How our neighbours were enslaved by ideology, theology,

Intertwinned we are, their story is our story, is also YOUR story,

He who forgets is doomed to repeat his own history!

Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it!