English Students learn about the Holocaust at the annual Merlyn Rees Lecture

On 21st January, seven English A Level students took part in the annual Merlyn Rees lecture, held in Westminster and run by the Holocaust Memorial Trust.

The event was attended by over 270 guests including Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassadors, Holocaust survivors and teachers and students.  The evening opened with an introduction from Karen Pollock, CEO of the Holocaust Trust and was followed by a thought -provoking address by the Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper. The keynote speaker, Professor Christopher Browning, an expert in Holocaust studies then took the audience through the harrowing history of the Holocaust.

Student Hamza Haq said of his speech, “The examples Professor Browning gave us, of some of the experiments that were done to test the psychological make-ups of Nazi soldiers, were really interesting”.  Fellow student Saima Samad added, “The lecture was both extremely thought-provoking and informative”.  Student Tanitha Desporte remarked, “The talk gave me an in-depth understanding of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust. It’s totally shocking to find out how badly people can treat other people, and difficult to understand how such terrible things could have been allowed to take place.”

Coulsdon College English Language & Literature students are currently studying Kressman Taylor’s text, ‘Address Unknown’ set in the lead up to the Second World War.  Head of English, Adrian Price commented, “The lecture provided a good opportunity for students to expand their knowledge of this period of history and I’m sure they all got something out of going along to it.”

The trip was organised by English teacher Kathy Miller who commented “The students took so much away from the lecture, things that will enhance their studies related to Nazi Germany in their exams.  We all really enjoyed the evening and I was very pleased to see how well our students participated.”

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