Wednesday, 23rd May 2018
STUDENTS are urged to think about people around the world killed by oppressive regimes
STUDENTS have been inspired to think about the 100 million people around the world killed in the genocides of oppressive regimes.
Holocaust survivor Joanna Millan urged students at Haughton Academy, Darlington, to ‘do their bit’ to prevent further mass murders in the future.
“Groups of people in history have become marginalised, isolated and been considered unfit to live,” she told Year 9 students. “One hundred million people have been killed in genocides and it is still happening today.”
As one of less than 100 orphan children to survive the Czech Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt, Mrs Millan told students that the persecution of the Jews was well known about, by the general public, by big business, by doctors who had sworn an oath to heal people but used their skills to experiment on them without anaesthetic.
“Few people did anything about it,” she said. “My generation made a complete mess of it so I hope you can do better because we cannot allow this to continue. Everyone can make a difference. You can make a difference.”
Now 76, Mrs Millan was airlifted to Britain in 1945 in a Wellington bomber when she was just three, unable to speak English, with no possessions, having survived for two years in a concentration camp. Her parents and grandparents perished at the hands of the Nazis.
She urged students never to feel bitter if tragedy struck but to look forward and make the most of life.
“Wishing things hadn’t happened is a waste of time because it doesn’t change anything,” she said. “I survived so feel an obligation to get on with life.”
Student, Layla Donnelly, 14, said she had been inspired by the talk. “I am interested in history, particularly around wars,” she said. “Mrs Millan went through so much and is still alive now. To meet and give her a hug was such a privilege. She was amazing.”
Head of RE and PSHE Amie Alderson said: “You could have heard a pin drop when she was speaking. The students were enthralled. Hearing Mrs Millan’s first-hand experiences was absolutely amazing and has certainly helped build students’ moral and spiritual development.”