AN ASSEMBLY FOR HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 2016

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1 AN ASSEMBLY FOR HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 2016 This assembly has been designed for any secondary aged students (ages 11-18) and ideally would take place on 27 January Holocaust Memorial Day. We recommend that you read the whole of this assembly and look through the accompanying PowerPoint presentation in advance, so that you can tailor the assembly to your students: you know your students best. This assembly can be followed up with several lesson plans and classroom activities that the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has produced which you may wish to use prior to or after this assembly. You can find these here: hmd.org.uk/education You will need: Equipment to display the accompanying PowerPoint presentation please test this before the assembly begins! The film clip which can be found at: hmd.org.uk/ivor This can be accessed through a hyperlink by clicking on the photograph on Slide 3 of the accompanying PowerPoint. Five students (or colleagues) to read the assembly (noted here as A, B, C, D and E). You should probably ask the students to read through this in advance so they can practise what they are going to say. Someone to click through to the next slide please ask them to have a practice in advance! hmd.org.uk /hmd.uk

2 Whole School Assembly Slide 1- Holocaust Memorial Day Trust logo Good morning. Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated on 27 January every year. Slide 2 - What was the Holocaust? Between 1941 and 1945, the Nazis attempted to kill all of Europe s Jews. This systematic and planned attempt to murder Jewish people in Europe is known as the Holocaust (The Shoah in Hebrew). C reads: From the time they assumed power in 1933, the Nazis used propaganda, persecution, and legislation to deny human and civil rights to Jews. They used centuries of antisemitism (hatred of Jewish people) as their foundation. By the end of the Holocaust, six million Jewish men, women and children had perished in ghettos, mass-shootings, in concentration camps and extermination camps. Slide 3 Ivor Perl D reads: Approximately six million individuals died as a result of the Holocaust. They were killed simply for being Jewish. This number is probably far too big for us to really understand. So today hmd.org.uk /hmd.uk

3 we are going to watch a short film clip, in which this man, Ivor Perl, who was born in Hungary, tells us his experiences during the Holocaust. Show film clip this can be accessed through a hyperlink by clicking on the photograph on Slide 3. E reads: Watching Ivor s film tells us about the stories beyond those statistics which are too huge for us to comprehend. It tells us that the Holocaust was the story of Jewish people being forced to move from their own homes to ghettos and camps. Of families being forced apart. Of the diseases like typhus which were allowed to spread as people were forced to live in appalling conditions. And his story tells us that half of Hungary s Jewish population were killed in only four months in 1944, and that Ivor himself lost all but one of his 8 brothers and sisters, and both of his parents. Ivor s testimony also tells us that, for Ivor, the legacy of the Holocaust continues. He tells us that he fears people more than he fears God; it was people who played with him as friends one week and on the second week herded him and his family into a ghetto. He speaks of his daily reminders of things which happened to him in the past. But he also speaks of his delight at moving to the UK and beginning to set up a life here, displaying so proudly in his home the pictures of his children and grandchildren. He tells us about his talks in schools and community groups, and that he feels if only one person hears his story and makes a difference, it was worth his while. C reads: There are hundreds of us here today. On Holocaust Memorial Day we can reflect on the ways in which we can make a difference after hearing Ivor s testimony. We can reflect on the particular questions that Ivor asked in the film. hmd.org.uk /hmd.uk

4 Slide 4 What has it helped? D reads: He asks What has the world learned since 1945? and, sadly, since the end of World War Two, there have been genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur where millions of people have been murdered simply because of who they are. This suggests the world has not learnt much. So what can we learn as individuals? Ivor asks us to reflect on our own actions, too. Slide 5 How would I have behaved? E reads: Ivor asked how would I have behaved if I had been the gentile (the person who was not Jewish)? We can also ask ourselves what would I have done if I had seen my neighbours forced out of their homes and onto trains or into ghettoes simply for who they were? Would I have stood by? Or would I have spoken out? The Holocaust was allowed to happen because the people with the power and the knowledge to stop it stood by and did nothing. Slide 6 Elie Wiesel At the end of Ivor s film he says the only thing we can do is not answer hate with hate. Perhaps we can challenge ourselves to go even further. As Elie Wiesel [pronounced Elly Veezel], another Holocaust survivor, wrote: I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Slide 7 Don t stand by Logo With the words of Ivor Perl and Elie Wiesel in mind, I would like to ask you today to commit to not standing by. When we see acts of injustice, don t stand by. When we hear of intolerance, don t stand by. When we see people being picked on because of who they are, don t stand by. And when we see others act on their hatred, don t stand by. hmd.org.uk /hmd.uk

5 C reads: If we can all make the commitment today that we will not stand by when others face prejudice, perhaps we can help the world learn lessons from the past to create a better, safer future. Thank you. hmd.org.uk /hmd.uk

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