In 2017, North West Surrey Synagogue hosted a four-day workshop programme for 530 students from local schools. The innovative sessions featured a film, discussion and survivor testimony.
Speakers included Beatrice Gould, Marion Strehlow and Annick Lever, who spoke about their experiences during the Holocaust.
Sixteen year old Josh Shelley, who delivered some of the sessions, said in his opening remarks:
‘We are asking you to consider the question How can life go on? Just imagine permanently losing something very precious to you…What can we do to give others, whose lives seem to have come to a full stop, the strength and will to start again?’
After hearing a first-hand account from a survivor, the students then broke into discussion groups followed by a screening of the film Learning from the Past from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) website.
The conclusion of the programme incorporated the lighting of a memorial candle to remember those who had died. Each student lit a candle, and handed a personal message card they had written to the survivor speaker.
Teacher Nick Wentland, from Heathside School, said:
‘The students were fascinated to learn about Mrs Strehlow’s experiences during the Holocaust. It was very hard for them to comprehend how such a young child could have endured such terrible treatment. The lesson the pupils will take with them is Mrs Strehlow’s perspective that even after all she experienced, she did not feel any hate for her persecutors.’