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Down High School Welcomes Survivor from the Holocaust Educational Trust

23rd Nov 2017

On Tuesday 14th November over 150 students in Years 10 – 14 from Down High School, St Patrick’s Grammar School and the Assumption Grammar School, along with some local political representatives, heard testimony from Holocaust survivor, Joanna Millan, as part of a visit organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET).
Joanna was born Bela Rosenthal in August 1942 in Berlin, Germany. In June 1943, Bela and her mother were taken from their home and sent to the Theresienstadt ghetto, in what is now the Czech Republic. When Bela was two, her mother contracted TB, leaving Bela orphaned and alone in the camp. Some of the women working in the kitchens would take food to the orphans. In May 1945, the Red Cross took over control of the camp and Bela was liberated by the Russians.
The testimony was followed by a question and answer session to enable students to better understand the nature of the Holocaust and to explore its lessons in more depth. The visit was part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s extensive all year round Outreach Programme, which is available to schools across the UK.
Mr Ken Dawson, Deputy Principal at Down High School, said:
“It was a privilege for us to welcome Joanna Millan to our school and her testimony will remain a powerful reminder of the horrors so many experienced. We are grateful to the Holocaust Educational Trust for co-ordinating the visit and we hope that by hearing Joanna’s testimony, it will encourage our students to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and make a positive difference in their own lives.”
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust added:
“The Holocaust Educational Trust educates and engages students from across the UK, from all communities about the Holocaust and there can be no better way than through the first-hand testimony of a survivor. Joanna’s story is one of tremendous courage during horrific circumstances and by hearing her testimony, students will have the opportunity to learn where prejudice and racism can ultimately lead. At the Trust, we impart the history of the Holocaust to young people, to ensure that we honour the memory of those whose lives were lost and take forward the lessons taught by those who survived.”

photograph courtesy of the Mourne Observer