A group of pupils from Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester, recently took part in a special event at Manchester’s Cornerhouse to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
The pupils were able to learn first-hand about the experience of Lady Milena Grenfell Baines, one of the 700 children saved from the Nazis and death by Sir Nicholas Winton.
At the Cornerhouse the pupils watched a screening of the powerful and moving film Nicky’s Family, which tells the story of Sir Nicholas, a unique and courageous figure, and his remarkable rescue mission that remained untold for nearly half a century.
The film highlighted the importance of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day. theme “Speak Up, Speak Out”. Sir Nicholas Winton, called “Britain’s Schindler” by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, was the brains behind the Czech Kindertransport which saved 669 children in the first six months of 1939. A stockbroker of German-Jewish heritage, he refused to stand by when he saw the injustice happening and not only spoke out but helped to save the lives of hundreds of children.
Alan Chapman from Saint Paul’s said: “This important event gives us an opportunity to take time out to remember the victims of the Holocaust and to look at how we can avoid such things happening in the future. The event was very moving and I was impressed with all our pupils who took part.”
Jimmy Buckley, head of history at Saint Paul’s, said: “Lady Milena Grenfell Baines, who was nine years old when Sir Nicholas Winton organised the train which saved her life, recounted her experiences. She is a lovely lady with an amazing story to tell. It was a privilege for our pupils to hear her recount her story first hand.”
Ursula Gallagher, head of Humanities at Saint Paul’s, said: “Film was an excellent medium to use to convey the message of the horror of the Holocaust and this, together with meeting a saved ‘Winton child’, enhanced the experience for our pupils and made it much more personal and emotional. We appreciate the courage it must have taken for Lady Milena Grenfell Baines to describe the terrible events which she and her sister endured.”
Wiktor Daron, head teacher at Saint Paul’s, said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is a time to remember the victims of the Holocaust and other atrocities. They should never be forgotten.”