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Law students visit concentration camps in Poland

Undergraduate Law students on UCLan's LLB (Hons) Law with Human Rights course visited concentration camps in Poland to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day on 28th January.

At the end of January several Law students went away for a long weekend to Poland. The trip was organised to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day on 28th January. The trip was primarily to visit two WWII Nazi Concentration Camps – Auschwitz, a Labour Camp, and Auschwitz-Birkenau, a Death Camp – near Krakow. Staff and students had an early flight to Krakow from Liverpool and on arrival were taken straight to the Jewish Quarter of Krakow where they visited a synagogue, the Jewish Ghetto during WWII and the Oskar Schindler factory (the story of Oskar Schindler being made famous by the Spielberg movie, ‘Schindler’s List’).

Human Rights Course Leader, Ian Turner, describes their visit to the concentration camps: "On the Saturday morning we were taken to Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau. And nothing could have prepared us for what we saw there: suitcases, clothes, spectacles – and human hair (when the camp was liberated by the Russians 70 tons of human hair was found – 10 tons is on display!). These all belonged to Jewish people who had been taken to Auschwitz between 1941 and 1945 and gassed to death. It is estimated that 1.1 million Jewish people were put to death at Auschwitz.

"We actually went inside a Gas Chamber. I was fighting back the tears – it was like hell on earth. Outside it was -16, excluding the wind chill; the image of the old railway station at Birkenau as we looked down those famous train tracks will live with me forever! Of course the trip wasn’t pleasant but I feel so privileged to have gone. Returning home, I felt as if I had been on a pilgrimage. Paradoxically, I feel uplifted for having been there."