This morning, I read a news article here which started off with this quote:
During activities week in July, 41 pupils from Woldgate School’s Years Eight and Nine, accompanied by five staff, visited Cantabria in the North of Spain.
We arrived on Monday afternoon and visited the village of Santillana where we stayed for four nights.
Eventually the article disintegrated into this quote:
Visiting speaker: Arek Hersh
Once again, the History department was privileged to welcome Arek Hersh to Woldgate [school].
Arek is a holocaust survivor and for several years now he has come into school to talk to our year nine pupils following their study of Hitler’s Germany and the Holocaust.
Arek was born and lived in Poland until he was 11 years old. Before the age of 15, he had lived through two ghettos and four concentration camps.
He narrowly escaped the gas chambers of Auschwitz, before eventually being freed and brought to England at the end of the war.
His story is very moving and inspiring and it has been published in a book entitled, A detail of History. This title has been deliberately chosen to echo the words of those who have sought to deny or dismiss the events of the Holocaust.
A film of his life, Arek, was shown to Year Nine pupils, after which they were encouraged to ask him questions. This year the event went especially well.
Pupils were attentive throughout the film and the questions they put to Arek were exceptional. At the end many of them came to shake his hand and buy his book, the proceeds of which go to continuing Holocaust education.
Do any of these students ever ask Arek how he managed to escape the gas chambers — when he was under the age of 15? This man’s whole life is Holocaust denial. As everyone knows, children under the age of 15 were sent immediately to the gas chamber when they arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
I don’t know if Arek mentioned the name of the SS man who was doing the selections when he went through the line, but it had to be Dr. Mengele, the SS man who was always whistling tunes from classical music and not paying attention to the children that he was letting through, instead of waving them to the gas chamber line, as he was supposed to do.