On Thursday 13 July 2017, Year 9 students spent their day examining issues of prejudice, discrimination and persecution with their History and Ethics teachers. There were activities which raised awareness of the plight of minority communities and which asked students to consider the reasons why minorities are often the targets of discrimination.
In the afternoon, the students attended a special assembly, where they met Mr Zigi Shipper. Zigi was born in Łódź in 1930 and was forced into the ghetto there in 1940. In 1944, when the ghetto was liquidated, Zigi was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau, before being transferred to a Camp at Stutthof. With Soviet troops approaching, the camp was sent on a Death March, arriving in Neustadt. A British air raid resulted in Zigi and his fellow inmates being rescued by British troops on 3 May 1945. Two years later, he came to the UK where he settled. Zigi came to Norwich from his home in Hertfordshire, accompanied by his wife.
Zigi spoke about his experiences for over an hour, to a rapt audience of students and staff. He also showed us some photos of his Father, his Mother and of himself after liberation. There was a particularly emotional moment when he shared photos of his wedding and of his own family. Zigi concluded with a message of hope, rejecting the politics of hate that many think is tarnishing today’s world. He received a huge round of applause at the end of his talk and he was given a booklet containing work by Year 9 History students as a memento of his visit to Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form.
A number of students stayed behind after the end of the school day to listen to Zigi as he continued to answer questions and to thank him for his talk.
Zigi’s visit was made possible with the support of the Holocaust Education Trust and the Friends of Thorpe St Andrew School.
This Year 9 Deep Thinking Day is one of a series of days in which students can get to grips with complex issues, discuss them and formulate their own responses to the concerns being raised.
Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form, Laundry Lane, Norwich, Norfolk, NR7 0XS
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The Yare Education Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales with company number 10301555. The registered office is at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form, Laundry Lane, Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich, Norfolk, NR7 0XS