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James Chagnon, left, Katelyn Furgala and James Osler are preparing for a trip to Holocaust sites in Europe. Furgala is a Grade 12 student at Springfield Collegiate Institute in Oakbank. Chagnon and Osler are Canadian History teachers who are leading the trip, which will include 30 students.

 
Springfield students to visit Holocaust sites

March 8, 2019, press release

Springfield Collegiate Institute

 

For immediate release: March 8, 2019

Springfield students to visit Holocaust sites

Trip to Europe also includes Canadian cemetery in the Netherlands

Thirty students from Springfield Collegiate Institute in Oakbank, Man., will travel to Europe later this month to visit three sites where Jews were murdered by Nazis during the Holocaust.

 

At each of the Concentration camps, five of the students will take a moment to remember a Holocaust victim, reading aloud a memorial that will include the name of the dead person and some details of his or her life.

 

The students will also visit other Second World War sites, including the Groesbeek Canadian War cemetery in the Netherlands. At this site the other half of the students will each read aloud a memorial for a Canadian soldier at their graveside, similar to the memorial for the Holocaust victims.  Students will also meet the Dutch group Faces to Graves (www.facestograves.nl) who are responsible for honouring the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers who are buried at the Groesbeek Canadian War cemetery.

 

The trip was planned in the late fall of 2017 and comes as increasing public attention has focused on the need for greater education of Canadian students about the Holocaust.

 

“It is really important that we make this trip to ensure that the Holocaust is not forgotten” said Katelyn Furgala, a Grade 12 student from Springfield who will be on the trip.

 

Canadian history teachers James Osler and James Chagnon said the trip will be an opportunity for students to connect in a personal way with the loss of human life caused by the Holocaust and the war.

 

“This trip will forever cement in the minds of the students who are going that hatred, taken to the extreme, has devastating results on humanity,” Osler said.

 

“Every graveside we visit, every concentration camp we tour in memoriam is a reminder that people, real people, sacrificed everything for what they believed in, not for the reward they expected to get.  This is why our students are researching both fallen Canadian soldiers and victims of the Holocaust before their trip,” Chagnon said.

 

Both teachers led a trip to Europe inApril 2017 for students to see First and Second World War sites connected to Canadian participation in both wars. That trip culminated in the students attending the ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge.

 

The video of that trip, created by students, is available at:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUCI0VEBVAM&t=1s

 

This is the first time the teachers will take students to the Holocaust sites. The students will depart Winnipeg onMarch 20 and return on March 31.

 

Highlights of the trip include:

 

  • March 21, Plaszow Concentration Camp— Nazi slave and labour camp for Polish and Hungarian Jews. Portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler's List.Five students will memorialize individual victims of the Holocaust who were murdered at Plaszow.
  • March 22, Schindler’s Factory— Students will learn more about Oskar Schindler and his Factory of Enameled Vessels and the role they played during this time in saving Jewish lives. Also portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler's List.
  • March 23, six-hour extended guided visit of Auschwitz and Birkenau— Between 1940 and 1945, more than 1.5 million people died at the Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps as a result of Hitler's “Final Solution” to rid Europe of Jews and other ethnic minorities. Five students will memorialize individual victims of the Holocaust who were murdered at Auschwitz and Birkenau.
  • March 24, Guided tour of the Warsaw Ghetto, including the Warsaw Ghetto Monument, which commemorates the heroic efforts of the Jewish resistance fighters.
  • March 27, Visit to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, North of Berlin— A German concentration camp from 1936 to 1945, primarily used by Nazi forces as a detention camp for political prisoners. Five students will memorialize individual victims of the Holocaust who were murdered at Sachsenhausen.
  • All students will observe moments of remembrance for all the victims of the Holocaust at all three death camps. 
  • March 29, Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery — A Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery containing the largest number of Canadian war dead in the Netherlands. Fifteen students have been given detailed biographies of Canadian soldiers who died while liberating the Netherlands and are buried at this cemetery. They will memorialize each soldier individually in front of the other students.

The students will be posting photos, video and texts on social media during the trip and will share their memories during Remembrance Day ceremonies this November.

 

For more information please contact:

Donald Benham

Volunteer communications contact

Springfield Collegiate 2019 European trip

[email protected]

204-800-0221

 
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