HEARTBREAK and history came to life as A2 History students heard a first-hand account from a Holocaust survivor.
Walter Kammerling, who at the age of 15 witnessed the events of November 1938 when Jewish synagogues, shops, businesses and homes were attacked across Germany and Austria, spoke to Barton Peveril College students as part of the Lessons from Auschwitz project.
The scheme, aimed at 16-18 year olds, offers a profound insight into the realities of history and aims to honour the memory of those whose lives were lost, while taking forward lessons taught by those who survived.
Mr Kammerling called on the audience of teenagers, Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton, staff and guests to never shy away from the reality of prejudice.
He said: “Everyone has his or her prejudices. The only difference is how we deal with them. It means going against the stream, going against the peer pressure. But it is worth it.”
The 90-year-old’s parents and eldest sister were murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz a few months before the camp’s liberation in 1945, and Mr Thornton said he was “deeply touched” by his testimony.
“Walter Kammerling’s story was incredibly powerful and served as a vital reminder of the horrific brutality of the Nazi regime. His personal account, his remaining pain at the loss of his entire family and his paramount desire to ensure that we all counter hatred was inspiring.
“I urge anyone who is given the opportunity to take the Holocaust Educational Trust trip to Auschwitz to do so.”
Mr Thornton accompanied students on a visit to the infamous death camps last autumn.