Students from Stoke-on-Trent College and the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College experienced history first-hand with a teaching session at Auschwitz concentration camp.
The notorious Nazi camp visit formed part of a four-day residential trip to Krakow, Poland, which includes a tour of the old Jewish quarter and the Schindler Museum aimed at making the students examine the issues of prejudice and discrimination.
This is the fourth year students from the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College have joined students from Stoke-on-Trent College on the project which took place over 12 weeks.
All 15 students who have taken part in the project have undertaken weekly tutorials learning about Poland and its culture, food and language, team building activities and fundraising days.
Rachel Basnett, External Partnerships & Events Co-ordinator at The City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College, said the project offered students a once in a lifetime opportunity to see for themselves the harm prejudice can cause.
She said: “As a college we are strongly committed to raising awareness and promoting diversity so that our students develop their reasoning skills and respect for others so they can become well rounded members of their community.
“Challenge Poland offers a wealth of opportunities to learn about culture and history, and increases their employability skills in things such as researching, report writing and communication.”
Kathy Jackson, Challenge Poland co-ordinator at Stoke-on-Trent College, said: “This project always has a sobering effect on all the students who take part in it and makes them realise just how lucky they are and how much we all take for granted on a daily basis.
“Each student has also raised £285 to cover the cost of their trip through a variety of fundraising events, ranging from bag packs to cake sales, tombola’s and raffles, so they’ve gained teamwork and organisational skills which are essential for the workplace.”
The students also heard from Joanna Millan, a Holocaust survivor, who came to talk to them about both her personal and family’s experiences during the holocaust. She was orphaned due to the Nazi regime during the Second World War and was held captive at Theresienstadt Concentration Camp near Prague.