05-11-2008, 02:10 PM
Direct Action Resistance Fighter
Joined: Aug 2006
Auschwitz visit overwhelmed teenager
Quote:A JEWISH school pupil from Oxfordshire has made a video of a visit to a Nazi concentration camp where his family relatives were believed to have been killed during the holocaust.
Joel Silver decided to film Matthew Arnold School's visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland to preserve the memory of the almost one million Jews killed there, including some of his distant cousins.
The 14-year-old from Iffley had initially wanted to make a full video diary of the school's four-day trip to Krakow and Auschwitz, but the youngster said the experience ended up being too overwhelming.
The Year Nine pupil at the Cumnor school said: "I've seen a few films about the holocaust like Schindler's List, but nothing can prepare you for seeing it close up.
"I was planning to keep a video diary of the whole trip, but when we got there I was too overwhelmed and upset.
"I took some film because I wanted to be able to watch it again later in life and look back at the moment.
"We saw the starvation cells and the wall of death, where people were stood up and shot, and the gas chambers.
"Nothing can prepare you for the shock of it, but it is important to film so that people never forget what happened."
As part of the trip, about 41 youngsters at the school visited the Nazis' largest concentration camp, seeing remnants of hair, spectacles and suitcases belonging to people who died there. They also met a holocaust survivor.
Joel said: "I was even quite nervous approaching Auschwitz because I didn't know what to expect and when I got there it was quite over- whelming.
There's a really eerie presence there.
"Even before I stepped through the gates I was getting very upset.
"I'm definitely going to go back some day. I want to go back with a group of Jewish people because it's quite a difficult experience to handle being the only Jewish person in a group."
Religious education teacher Tres Magee said: "Joel is very proud to be Jewish and he was very brave to take it all in.
"None of the pupils really spoke the whole day they were there.
"They were just taken aback. It's very emotionally tiring."
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