Holocaust survivor’s lesson on race crime

A SURVIVOR of the Holocaust has shared his emotional experiences with Hucknall schoolchildren in a bid to tackle racism and hate crime.

Youngsters from Hillside Primary School on Roberts Lane visited the Laxton Holocaust Centre in Newark as part of a series of education and awareness sessions.

Once there, they came face to face with a man who, as a boy, survived the Nazi-led ethnic-cleansing campaign that led to the death of about six million European Jews during the Second World War.

In an emotive event and exhibition, the children heard from the man how, as a German Jewish boy living in Berlin, he made it through the genocide.

The event, which was laid on by Notts County Council, was aimed at increasing understanding and tolerance of other faiths and races in a bid to reduce problems of hate crime.

The visit included an exhibition at the centre on how bullying and segregation can lead to serious consequences.

Dot Stenson, head teacher at Hillside Primary and Nursery, said: “The visit deepened the children’s understanding of the plight of the Jewish community in Germany at the time of the Second World War.

“More importantly, they could see the connection with other groups of people persecuted due to race or faith and the injustice of this.

“The children felt totally privileged to have the opportunity to meet a survivor of the Holocaust.

“It really brought it home to them that it had happened within living memory.”

The county council’s achievement and equality team will also be carrying out sessions at Hillside and other participating schools to develop further the pupils’ knowledge and understanding on the issues of racism and hate crime.

In addition, the educational programme includes a competition called ‘Feeding The Faith’ whereby pupils have been encouraged to put forward artwork embracing different cultures and faiths.

This was recently displayed at Hucknall Library on Market Place where local people voted for their favourite pieces.

Coun Mick Murphy (Con), a Hucknall member of the county council and lead member for community safety, said:

“Hearing the experiences of a Holocaust survivor, first hand, is a very powerful and effective way for children to understand the full impact that racism can have on victims.

“These sessions aim to create a greater understanding of other faiths and cultures to help reduce racism and hate crime, which causes needless anxiety and distress for victims and can seriously reduce their quality of life.”

The Laxton Holocaust Centre uses genocide as a model to promote ways society can break down prejudices.