Form 4 pupils attended a morning of lessons, talks and workshops covering the White Rose Resistance Movement and the Holocaust organised by the History and German departments.
In the first two sessions, pupils discussed the White Rose Resistance, a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany led by a group of students from the University of Munich during the Second World War.
The pupils welcomed the first virtual guest speaker of the morning, Dr Alex Lloyd, Lecturer of German at the University of Oxford. Alex was recently given an award for leading the White Rose Project, a research initiative that aims to increase awareness of resistance writing and how culture can inform political action. Alex’s talk and workshop examined the pamphlets the group wrote and looked at resistance language. She also explained the context of life in Germany at this time and encouraged pupils to reflect on the unanswerable question of how they might have acted in those circumstances.
The second virtual guest speaker of the morning was Zigi Shipper BEM and his daughter Michelle Richman from the Holocaust Educational Trust. Michelle described Zigi’s life story as a Holocaust survivor, from his early life before being taken to the Łódź Ghetto and several camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau, before he was liberated after surviving a death march.
Kelly Gibbons, the organiser of Zigi’s visit, said, “It was wonderful to welcome Zigi and his daughter Michelle back to talk to Oakham pupils. Our pupils were enthralled by his story and felt blessed to be able to listen to Zigi first hand and have the opportunity to ask him questions about his experience.”
Below are some comments about the talks from our pupils.
“We may be the last generation that has the opportunity to hear first hand a survivor’s story and meet him, albeit virtually. It was a really moving story.”
Patrick and Nate
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and educational experience to listen to a survivor’s story that will leave a lasting impact on all of us.”
“I thought that Zigi Shipper’s story on how he lived when he was younger was very interesting yet frightening. It is also very difficult to understand how he coped with the horrible conditions he was under in the different concentration camps including Auschwitz. I thought it was amazing that I could actually see for myself someone who survived the massive genocide of the holocaust considering it wiped out over 6 million Jews and Zigi being one of the few who made it out alive. Although it is great that we still have Holocaust survivors around today, I’m sure that at times it can be very hard for Zigi and other holocaust survivors because of all the traumatic moments they have been through; I do not believe you could not have a more difficult life than people who were part of these horrific concentration camps.”
“I was fortunate enough to experience a morning about The White Rose Group and the Holocaust… “To hear Zigi be so open and talk about his story was truly inspirational and was a moment I will remember forever. A question I found greatly intriguing was when he was asked what he would say to a Nazi, or guard at the concentration camp if he saw them today. Zigi proceeded to say that he would not say anything apart from asking them why they would do such a thing. He talked about how they could do this, especially to children. Zigi’s discussion and feedback really gave us further insight into the true horrors of the Holocaust and what it was like to be there. It was a truly moving talk and the 4th Form and I were very lucky to be given this opportunity.”