NICK CLEGG lights a candle at Birkenau extermination camp 37.
(photo credit: Yakir Zur)
LONDON – Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg joined students from high
schools and colleges from across the Southeast of Britain on a visit to
Auschwitz-Birkenau on Thursday.
The visit was part of the Lessons from
Auschwitz Project, run by the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Londonbased
charity which organizes for 3,000 students from the UK to visit the camp in
Poland each year – two students from each institution of learning.
program combines a visit to Poland with an orientation seminar and follow-ups.
Students have gone on to organize anti-racism conferences, public exhibitions,
to write articles for local media and to lead school assemblies.
visit on Thursday was the 100th by UK students since the program was launched in
More than 18,000 students, teachers, MPs and dignitaries from
across the UK have visited Auschwitz-Birkenau – under HET’s auspices – helping
to deepen their understanding of the horrors of the Holocaust, its contemporary
lessons and where hatred and prejudice can lead, if left unchecked.
day began at Osweicim, the town where the Auschwitz death and concentration
camps were located and where before the war, 58 percent of the population was
Clegg and the students saw the barracks and crematoria at
Auschwitz, witnessing the piles of belongings seized by the Nazis. They
subsequently visited Birkenau, the main extermination center. They concluded by
lighting candles and taking time to reflect and remember all those who
The deputy prime minister read an extract from Holocaust survivor
and author Elie Wiesel’s speech on accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in
“Forgetfulness is the surest way that hatred, violence and
prejudice carries on and repeats itself, and so to teach generations who don’t
have any direct contact with what happened in the war by showing them places
like this is an antidote – against forgetting and against anti-Semitism of
course, but it’s also a great antidote against extremism and prejudice more
generally,” Clegg recited.