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Last Updated: Monday, 4 February 2008, 11:45 GMT
Extra funding for Holocaust trips
Railway tracks at Auschwitz
Sixth-form pupils will spend a day at the site of the Auschwitz camp
A project taking thousands of English teenagers to visit Auschwitz is to be funded for another three years, says the government.

Two sixth formers from every school in England are currently funded to visit Auschwitz in Poland, to encourage an understanding of the Holocaust.

The project will receive an extra 4.65m to extend it until 2011.

"Every young person should have an understanding of this," says Schools Minister Jim Knight.

The project, in which 6,000 teenagers per year spend a day visiting the Auschwitz camp and meeting survivors of the Holocaust, was launched in 2005.

'Eye-witnesses'

The government provides 200 funding for each pupil, with schools expected to contribute a further 100.

Mr Knight, extending the funding, says that the "Holocaust was one of the most significant events in world history".

"Six million people died not for what they had done but simply for who they were.

"What strikes me is the sheer scale of it and how industrialised and mechanised the process of killing people became at Auschwitz.

"It was not hot-blooded brutality, it happened in a very planned way, with some people designing the process of death and others carrying it out," said Mr Knight.

Teaching the Holocaust is compulsory in all secondary schools between the ages of 11 and 14 and can also be studied in GCSE history courses when studying the Second World War.

A pupil who took part in a visit last year, Rachael Saffer, from Queenswood School in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, described her reactions to Auschwitz: "It has been difficult. As much as I want to look, I really find it hard to.

"It does strike a lot of buried emotions that I didn't think I would grasp by coming here," she said.

The scheme is run by the Holocaust Educational Trust - and the trust's chief executive, Karen Pollock, says that the trip makes the young visitors "eye-witnesses" to what happened during the Second World War.

The experience can be "life changing", she says. "They suddenly realise what they value and they see it is important to challenge prejudice today."



SEE ALSO
Holocaust study trips extended
10 Nov 05 |  Education
Students on Holocaust study trip
08 Mar 07 |  England
Pupils set up Anne Frank festival
16 Nov 06 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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