TENC - Bergen -Belsen 75
A group of TENC students visited Belsen Bergan Camp on Wednesday 12th February. One student has written her experiences below:
We battled through Storm Ciara and assigned our group upon arrival. After a brief introduction and quiz about what we already knew, we were split off to complete activities such as a timeline of Bergen-Belsen and reading testimonies of survivors and liberators. Our educator, Anna, took time focusing on mentally preparing ourselves for the trip to come.
The 2am wake up led us to touch down at Hanover airport around 8. We boarded a coach containing two groups and were introduced to our other educator, Sarah. Our first stop was the Displaced Persons Camp - an active military barracks - and saw Freedom Square. We spent time hearing testimonies of people who were liberated and what it meant to them before heading off to the camp site. The entrance you could've accidentally walked your dog onto! We also saw the burnt remains of the delousing and disinfection centre. Just before the memorial and the majority of mass graves was the education centre. We looked at pictures, adding a human touch to the experience. We saw devastation. We saw marriages. We saw births and we saw the wonder of sport and politics occurring in the DP camp after liberation. We went on to the memorial and saw the Israeli and National memorials with specific headstones dedicated to certain families. Two that stood out were the stone for Margot and Anne Frank and the Oppenheimer family which holds a special place in the Holocaust Educational Trust's heart as they worked close with Paul and Rudi Oppenheimer - brothers who were liberated from Bergen-Belsen. We finally held a ceremony and placed stones at the memorial, a Jewish tradition of remembrance.
We returned to Hilton Birmingham Metropole to discuss what we had seen and started to plan our Legacy projects. We looked closely at pre-existing presentations, memorials and social media connecting modern-day issues such as antisemitism and Islamophobia.