By Stuart Wilcox (Anne Frank Trust Regional Manager for west Midlands).
Monday 21st October myself and a small group of primary school teachers from the London region and one representative from Hope Not Hate embarked on a 5-day study trip to Warsaw Poland. The trip was organised by Learning from the Righteous, an educational charity that uses the stories of acts of rescue and resistance by non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust to deliver education programmes and workshops to inspire children from a range of religious and cultural backgrounds to make a positive impact on the world they live in. The trip was supported significantly by the Polish embassy and allowed our group to experience many significant, poignant and thought-provoking places in and around the city of Warsaw linked to World War II and the atrocities of the Holocaust.
The places visited included:Warsaw Uprising Museum, Treblinka Death Camp, Warsaw Zoo to see Zabinski’s Villa (which I know from the film the Zookeepers Wife ), Janusz Korczak’s Warsaw Orphanage, the area of the Warsaw ghetto, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the Jewish cemetery and the Jewish Historical Institute.The whole experience was extremely moving, inspiring and fascinating and provided an in depth insight into those people living in and around Warsaw during World War 2, highlighting the remarkable bravery, courage, intelligence and compassion, whilst also giving an insight into the true horrors, suffering and destruction that took place there.
My own personal highlights were visiting the Warsaw Orphanage, and the Jewish Historical Institute, which struck a chord with me and my work with the Anne Frank Trust. Treblinka of course was deeply moving, immersive, powerful and chilling.