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Auschwitz - a reflection by Year 12 Student Katie Grieve

"Auschwitz II (Berkenau) was an indescribable experience.

Walking beside the train tracks that millions of people disembarked from to their death, was harrowing and surreal. Auschwitz II was huge, bigger than I imagined, rows upon rows of wooden and brick huts occupied the space alongside the gas chambers which had been blown up by the Nazis.

At Auschwitz II, two experiences stood out to me the most. Firstly, towards the end of the tour there were hundreds of pictures of victims of the Holocaust before the war, some getting married and some with their newborn babies. It was truly horrific to think that their lives had been so cruelly taken. Secondly, on the trip we were joined by Rabbi Marcus and at the end of the day he led a ceremony in which he recited a prayer in Hebrew called El Molei Rachamim. Although I could not understand what was being said, I could feel the meaning through the Rabbi's emotion and passion. Shortly afterwards we held a minute's silence, and all 213 of us each lit a candle and placed them along the train tracks in remembrance.

The trip has left a mark on me and I believe it will continue to do so as I educate others about my experience, and the experiences of those who perished in the Holocaust."