Student Carmel Amamgbo writes about a recent visit to the National Holocaust Centre and Museum.
“Today, with the assistance of the REP department at d’Overbroeck’s, we were able to visit the National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Nottinghamshire. The journey was long but so were those about which we learned once we were there. We were all enlightened by the staff and the first hand (virtual and spoken) stories of the children who grew up and survived the terrible conditions they were subjected to, just because they were Jewish.
We were able to learn about the victims prior to the mass murder. Everyone was quiet when faced with the realisation of them being individuals and seeing the family photos and prized possessions they held dear. This forced us to see how they transitioned from being communities of people to their capture and displacement. We saw the sources of propaganda that indoctrinated the masses to believe the false truth preached about the victims.
After a break, we were privileged to sit and listen to Robert Norton (pictured above), a witness to the destruction that occurred. He was a child born in the early 1930s who grew up in Czechoslovakia with Czechs, Slovakians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians and Hungarians. He spoke of the times before the genocide, then the acceptance of prejudices which turned into more violent forms of discrimination; leading to segregation and isolation and finally an attempt to exterminate the Jews. Due to the efforts of his Hungarian father, Robert was able to take refuge in England where he settled and later worked as an international salesperson for a textiles company.
Finally, we went through a series of rooms through the virtual re-enactment of a diary of a boy named Leo Stein. It began with an short introductory film about the journeys we take today, contrasting them with the Kindertransports. It allowed us to re-evaluate the long journey we made to the museum. We observed how the journeys of children like Robert had lead to the separation of families for decades; many never saw their families again. This put into perspective all they had suffered, how far we had travelled that day, and how much further we need to continue to go against genocide and its many consequences.”