On 29th January 2020, thirty year 9 students recently had the exciting opportunity to go and listen to a Holocaust survivors’ presentation on his experiences during the period of Jewish persecution that ran through the 1930s and WWII. John Fieldsend gave a powerful and emotive testimony of his experiences, and the impact the Holocaust had on his family and the Jewish population of Europe, including the internment of his parents at Auschwitz concentration camp February 1943. The last words Mr. Fieldsend had from his mother were written in a letter he finally received almost 35 years later, ‘Become good men’, and his father’s last written words to him were ‘We will go bravely into the unknown, do not forget us, be good’. Mr. Fieldsend was one of the children who came to England on the Kinder transport arranged by Nicholas Winton, who managed to save over 600 children.
The students then had the opportunity to ask questions to John about his experiences. The students represented the school superbly and asked multiple thought-provoking questions. All students commented on the power of the day and noted how the experience allowed them to connect better with the period they were studying. One student noted that “listening to someone who was there, and uses their own words, thoughts and feelings to tell you about it has more impact than any history book can”.