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The horror that cannot be denied

Comment by students at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds
Comment by students at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds

School often gives you a chance to experience something that will change your life. Like the tour to Poland I went on with Suffolk Youth Orchestra.

We had the opportunity to visit the concentration camp at Auschwitz – and it was a chilling experience. Everybody on the trip fell to pieces. Many cried. We could not believe that humanity had done the things we were reading about and seeing.

Since that trip, I have found it even harder to imagine how, 70 years after those events, people deny that it happened.

In Year 9, we had a lesson about a historian who is one of the most prominent Holocaust-deniers. The thing I found most annoying was that he was, before he started arguing that the Holocaust never happened, an acclaimed historian.

The job of a historian is to use facts and then develop an opinion based on those facts, without adding their personal beliefs.

Even if people were unsure it happened, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence: accounts from the victims, stories from the soldiers who liberated these hell-holes, the concentration camps themselves.

At Auschwitz we saw piles of hair, shoes and glasses left behind by the dead. They were real. As if this is not enough, people have been executed for their war crimes. So, with this proof, why do people argue that it did not happen?

For some it is because they are neo-Nazis, with a twisted view of history, still promoting Hitler’s views and beliefs.

To most right-thinking people it seems incredible that anyone could either ignore the historical evidence to the extent that they refuse to believe what happened, or know what happened but refuse to condemn it.

There are still people alive who were put through the horror of the death-camps.

In fact, nearly everyone who is reading this has relatives who fought the Nazis. If one were to ask them, they could recount the trauma they went through, and they would say that it must be known about and never forgotten.

To those who survived, it was the worst part of their lives. To say that it did not happen is an insult to these poor people who went through hell. I am certain that many of these neo-Nazis would not be brave enough to tell the veterans their experiences did not happen.

In schools, we are taught about the Holocaust quite extensively. I think this is an exceedingly good idea to make sure we remember and never repeat what happened in the Second World War.

More than 380,000 British soldiers died fighting the atrocities Hitler brought upon Europe. Maybe one of them was your grandfather.

Whether we are right wing or left wing, we all should agree that the truth and memory must be kept alive, to honour past generations and save those still to come.

-- Anton Avis is a student at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds

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