The Oakham School community joined together on Wednesday to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, which this year marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Lower 1 took part in a story time activity organised by Rutland Libraries where they heard stories about the lives of children in World War Two, including the lives of Jewish children living in Germany at that time. Mr Morris’ midweek message to the Lower School also focussed on Holocaust Memorial Day and pupils watched a video made by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust outlining the events of the Holocaust and of more recent genocides, such as those in Cambodia and Bosnia.
Meanwhile, Form 4 had a special assembly on the same topic and Middle and Upper School tutorial included a service of remembrance and some discussion about this year’s Memorial Day theme, ‘Be a light in the darkness’. Pupils learnt not only about 20thCentury genocides but also about the individuals who had saved lives during these events, and reflected on the power of an individual’s voice in times of darkness. At the end of the tutorial, pupils lit a candle and listened to a recording of London’s Fourth Choir singing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ which was written in 1938 by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg, two Jewish Americans, as a song of longing for a better world during troubled times.
“It was a wonderful moment, lighting a candle and knowing that the rest of the School was doing the same thing in their homes around the world,” ’ says James Robinson, Head of Middle School. “Everything and everyone just stopped to focus on the events of the Holocaust and the genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. Having the opportunity to discuss the role we all play in standing up against injustice is hugely important for our students and for the wider School community”.