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One of the most important assemblies in the school calendar.



Holocaust Memorial Day is on 27th January and in assembly this week Adam Stark, Head of Religious Studies, seven student RS & Philosophy Subject Ambassadors and Alison Thomas, Head of History and Politics, gave a very thought-provoking assembly. 

Adam Stark said: “This is one of the most important assemblies in the school calendar. International Holocaust Memorial Day is a moment to commemorate one of the deadliest events of the 20th Century. Remembering this history helps us to safeguard our freedom and democracy, since it reminds us not to idly and uncritically accept the visions and ideologies of those in positions of power; and not to give in to the temptation to hate or discriminate against those whom we do not understand. This is what makes Holocaust Memorial so important.  

Our freedom is fragile. It may not seem like it from our relatively privileged position in this hall, in this beautiful countryside estate positioned in a comparatively safe corner of the world, but our freedom is fragile. You only need to turn on the news to realize that. In the right circumstances, the emergence of nazism, antisemitism, islamophobia, xenophobia, war and death camps– the Holocaust– could have happened anywhere. Even here. So, it is us, as individuals and as a community, who decides whether we want to safeguard our freedom and the freedom of others, or whether to ignore the growing tide of neo-fascism and allow that freedom to slowly ebb away.” 



Our student RS & Philosophy Subject Ambassadors presented case studies about fighting back.  They spoke about the The White Rose Group and the Ten Boom family.  The White Rose Group were students and professors from Munich University who asked the German people to react to the violence and oppression which were all around them by standing up and fighting for freedom. In June 1942 four leaflets, published in quick succession, with the title Leaflets of the White Rose appeared all over the city of Munich. 



The Ten Boom family who were devoted Christians who had been very involved in charity work before the Second World War. During the war, they used their home in Haarlem to hide people hunted by the Nazis. These included resistance fighters and Jews. 

The family built a small hiding place behind a wardrobe in Corrie’s bedroom where 6 people could hide as long as they stood up and didn’t move or make a noise. When danger came, a small bell would ring, and the refugees had to run into the space with all their belongings until it was safe. 


Alison Thomas then presented and said: “The 2024 Holocaust Memorial Day message, the fragility of freedom, is especially resonant this year as we can see that states which thought they lived in freedom until recently, like Ukraine and Israel/Palestine have seen this freedom disappear. 

As we remember the suffering of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, we can see this happens still in our world. Holocaust Memorial is about seeking to end division and build unity. 

It remains more important than ever for us to seek to understand the history that helps explain why conflict happens to help all work for a peaceful future conflict today.” 

She then read the poem ‘First They Came’ by Martin Niemöller, which reminds us of our duty to stand up for others: 

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. 

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. 

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. 

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. 


Adam concluded by saying: “The seeds of hatred are, unfortunately, within us all. My hope is that those seeds remain dormant. Unfortunately, however, the seeds of hatred germinate and grow rather easily. For, it is easier to hate than it is to understand. But hatred is a lazy person’s game– an ignorant person’s game. Understanding others– understanding why we see and act differently to them– that takes patience and humility. So, in this emerging world of instant-gratification, of Tik Tok, YouTube and Instagram (Apps designed to inject shock, horror and awe, to captivate you, to make you watch more adverts from which they make their profits)-- in this emerging conflicted world, it is important more now than ever that we all remain patient and humble; that we are quick to ask questions and slow to anger. 

The Holocaust is an example of where hatred can lead. So, let this assembly be a reminder of why we should all be concerned with addressing injustices of all forms. After all, remember: “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good [people] to do nothing.”” 

Well done to all of our RS & Philosophy Subject Ambassadors for your presentations. 



  • Holocaust Memorial Day