This post appears on the Learning Outside the Classroom website.
For decades, overseas educational visits have played an instrumental role in bringing historical events to life, especially in building a connection between students and the horrors of the First and Second World Wars. Trips to battlefields and memorials help to grow their understanding as to how actions in the past have impacted on the world they live in today.
On 27 January 1945 the notorious concentration camp, Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops, revealing to the world the depth of the horrors that took place there. Visiting historically important sites such as Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau and Treblinka – has been central to efforts to help future generations understand the dangers of ‘politics of division’ and the associated moral and ethical issues.
Young people today are growing up in a complex world with support for right-wing politics on the rise, increasing unemployment and growing tensions between ethnic groups. It is therefore important that young people continue to develop an understanding of the consequences of far-right ideology. This can be achieved by visiting historical sites and memorials. Being fully immersed in the surroundings provides poignant insight into what it would have been like to live through horrific events such as the Holocaust. Research also shows that visiting sites such as Auschwitz helps students to become morally and socially aware of the consequences of exclusionary politics.
The current travel ban means that this year, students are unable to have this direct experience. At TCBC we wanted to ensure students weren’t disadvantaged and have spent several months working in partnership with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum to create an opportunity for schools to experience the Auschwitz memorial remotely.
The 60-minute online tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau site is guided by a Museum Educator, and will go some way in helping students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the holocaust. The tour will help develop the moral and social awareness of a class, and enable deeper follow on discussions around the consequences of exclusion, division and lack of tolerance of others.
National Holocaust Memorial Day is 27 January.
Find out more about TCBC’s Auschwitz Birkenau Online Tour