Survivor shares Holocaust story with school children

Headteacher Mike Foley, centre, and teacher Kevin Matthews, right with Harry Grenville. Inset, Kevin Matthews presents school shields to Johnson Mutibagirana and Bony Kayirange

Headteacher Mike Foley, centre, and teacher Kevin Matthews, right with Harry Grenville. Inset, Kevin Matthews presents school shields to Johnson Mutibagirana and Bony Kayirange

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

STUDENTS from Thomas Hardye School learnt lessons from genocide survivors.

The Dorchester school held a series of events to mark Holocaust Memorial Week in recognition of its status as a Beacon School in Holocaust Education.

Every pupil heard the story of local Holocaust survivor Harry Grenville during assemblies.

One student said: “Although it was really sad what Harry was saying, it makes such horrible things much more real hearing his story, and for that, I am grateful.”

A-level Geography, Politics and French students also took an in depth look at the 1994 Rwandan genocide that saw one million people killed. Rwandans Johnson Mutibagirana and Bony Kayirange came in to speak to the sixth formers about their experiences of the genocide as well as Rwanda today.

Bony said: “We are looking forward to being and to becoming people who our relatives would be proud of.”

Johnson added: “What I can share with British people is that genocide can happen everywhere and at any time so it is necessary to always teach the young generation so that it may never happen again.”

The students also connected with Carl Wilkens, who kept an orphanage where Johnson grew up safe from attack, and commander of the UN peacekeeping force Senator Romeo Dallaire in Canada through Skype.

Other events over the week included a lecture from Professor Richard Overy on Holocaust Killings and a study of the Kindertransport that involved 100 Year Nine students.

Year 10 drama students also were involved in workshops ahead of a performance of Confessions of a Butterfly, which told the story of Dr Janusz Korczak and his efforts to protect 200 orphans in his care in the Warsaw ghetto in 1942.

Later this year pupils will visit Auschwitz and Birmingham as part of their education.

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