STUDENTS were taken on a journey back to the darkest days of the Second World War on a trip to Auschwitz.
Selected pupils from schools in the area visited Poland with the Holocaust Educational Trust as part of the project called Lessons from Auschwitz.
It was organised to teach the younger generation about the horrors of the Holocaust.
Among the 200 students were youngsters from sixth forms at Bay House School in Gosport, Oaklands Catholic School in Waterlooville and Portsmouth Grammar School.
They were given a tour around the first camp, Auschwitz 1, before going to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where around 1.2m people were murdered.-
Sam Chadwick, 16, is in Year 12 at Oaklands. He said: ‘It’s disgusting to think that human beings could do this.
‘But sooner rather than later the young people are going to be the ones left to remember this sort of event and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
‘If they don’t come here and see what happens they will never know how to stop it.’
Molly Hudson, 17, is in Year 12 at Bay House. She said: ‘I knew it was going to be awful but not this bad.
‘I feel ashamed of the human race. I know that we’ve learnt from this but I still feel awful. It made me think about war and what it does to people.’
Louis Carron, 17, is in Year 13 at Bay House. He was returning to Auschwitz after visiting when he was 13.
He said: ‘It’s more real. This has affected nations. It affected the entire world. People are still hurting today.
‘I just feel like this is raw nature.
‘This is humans at their most disgusting and most powerful.’
Erin Stott, 18, is in Year 13 at Oaklands. She said: ‘You are given so many numbers when you learn about it in terms of how many people died. It’s easy to think of it as something that’s not really real.
‘To come here puts it back into reality. It’s shocking and terrifying how big and real it actually is.
‘I’ve more and more desire to carrying on passing on this information and hope that people don’t give up on this education because the only way you can stop something like this happening again is by continuing to teach children.’
Students learn of horrors of the camps
Ben Caldera, 17, is in Year 12 at Portsmouth Grammar School. He said: ‘The opportunity to visit Auschwitz is one that I will certainly never forget.
‘I found the whole experience extremely interesting and informative – as it widened my previously limited knowledge of the Holocaust to a great extent – but at the same time overwhelming and unbelievable.
‘You just can’t fully comprehend the sheer size and effects of the inhumane Holocaust until you have visited Auschwitz. I would strongly advise anyone to visit if they ever get the chance to do so.’
Anna Sykes, 16, is in Year 12 at the school. She added: ‘It was an emotional and moving experience, which I feel will live with me forever.
‘I now feel the responsibility to relay the message on to others and pass on the history of the terrible events which occurred.’
More on the students’ visit to Auschwitz can be read here.