TWO students have been picked as ambassadors for a project to remember the Holocaust after they visited Auschwitz.
Sam Finlay and Niall O’Byrne, both sixth formers from Bay House School in Gosport, were selected to take part in a programme called Lessons from Auschwitz.
The aim is to bring together students from all over Europe to learn more about the Holocaust, and hear the experiences of a survivor.
The pair, both 17, visited Auschwitz in Poland last November and learned how the Nazis had killed 1.1m men, women and children there.
They now want to make sure people in their local community don’t forget what happened.
Sam and Niall have been busy sharing their experiences in assemblies at school and writing about it for the school newsletter.
Niall said: ‘I found it very moving and it is hard to get your head around.
‘The reason we were sent was to act as ambassadors and come back to spread the message.
‘We thought a brilliant way of doing it would be to just talk to people and share our experiences.
‘Lots of people were very interested in finding out what happened.
‘Recently, there have been incidents where people have tried to pretend it never happened. It’s important to make sure it’s not forgotten.
‘It’s about making them seen as human beings and not just as a number.
‘The trip was hard on everyone, and many of those who visited with us experienced different emotions and reactions.’
After hearing Sam and Niall talk about their experiences, Bay House school has decided to send a group of year nine students on the same trip in May.
Sam added: ‘It teaches you that whenever you see prejudice people have to stand up against it so things like this can’t happen again.
‘If people are made aware of the prejudice or if people are going to Auschwitz it will make them think about it and consider it more.
‘Listening to a survivor conveyed the message of personal suffering and both the strengths and weaknesses of human nature in a way that documentaries and outsider’s accounts couldn’t.’