Krakow Trip

Published 25 April 2024

Just before the Easter break, 32 students from across the Year 12 cohort visited Krakow to develop their knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust. Accompanied by Mr Owen, Mrs Lane and Miss May, students began their tour at Kazimierz, which since the 12th century has been known as Krakow’s Jewish Quarter. However, as a result of Nazi persecution since Poland’s occupation in 1939, and the devastating loss of life and culture due to the Holocaust, this once vibrant space is now much smaller in size and population. After visiting one of Krakow’s oldest synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, students listened to the testimony of Anna Janowska Cioncka, who spoke of her family’s experience under Nazi persecution.

Exploring pre-war Jewish life and meeting and speaking with a Holocaust survivor helped to prepare students and staff for day two, which involved a full tour of the concentration and extermination camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Here, students learnt more about the function of both Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau and spent time exploring a range of exhibits including ‘Shoah’, which provided an overview of pre-war Jewry, whilst commemorating the 1 million Jewish children who were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. We ended our trip exploring the former Jewish ghetto in Krakow, and learning about the heroic efforts of Tadeusz Pankiewicz, a Polish pharmacist, who provided medicine and supplies for those trapped behind the ghetto wall.

Sreelakshmi Sreejith (12D5) said, “I found this trip very interesting and it showed me the true struggles that the victims of the holocaust went through. I think the [pre-trip] seminars really helped me to develop a basic understanding of what the Holocaust was, so that when I went on the trip I could get the full experience and develop that understanding which was very helpful.”

From the moment we left St Barts at 3am on the 27 March to our arrival back, our students were phenomenal. They engaged with all elements of the trip and supported each other exceptionally well. A huge thank you to each of you.

A further thanks to all staff involved, with a special thanks to Mrs Lane and Miss May.

Don’t forget to follow our Beacon journey on our new Instagram account: beaconbarts2024