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Holocaust Memorial Day

January 30th, 2020

On Monday 27th January, Holocaust Memorial Day was commemorated to remember those who suffered in the Holocaust under Nazi persecution, and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

On Tuesday, Central Foundation school community marked this occasion with a whole school assembly led by our Year 13 students, who also attended the commemoration at the Islington Town Hall the previous day.

The Holocaust is the word that is most widely used to describe the Nazi persecution and mass murder of the Jews in Germany and the parts of Europe they conquered with the assistance of others in those countries. However, millions of other people were also killed including Poles, Russians, Romas, homosexual people, people the Nazis deemed to be disabled, either mentally or physically as well as political opponents, primarily communists, trade unionists and social democrats and those whose religious beliefs conflicted with Nazi ideology.

Holocaust Memorial Day is a time when we seek to learn the lessons of the past and recognise that genocide does not just take place on its own – it’s a steady process which can begin if discrimination, racism and hatred are not checked and prevented.

Poppy and James, Year 13 students, described their experience of visiting the concentration camp in Auschwitz in Poland last term. Their account was very moving and thought provoking.

The students passed on their reflections and their plea to the rest of the School community to be kind, respectful and open to one another in order to build a strong and tolerant society.


Poppy and James, Year 13 students, talking about their experience of visiting Auschwitz


Abubakar, Year 13 representative of Islington Youth Council, at the Holocaust Memorial Day event in Islington alongisde Islington South MP Emily Thornberry, Islington Council Executive Member for Community Cllr Una O’Halloran, Holocaust survivor Hana Kleiner and husband Cedric Isaac, Mayor of Islington Cllr Rakhia Ismail, Bosnian Genocide survivor Mevlida Lazibi, Camden and Islington LGBT forum Executive Tessa Havers-Strong, Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, Islington Council Migrants Champion Cllr Sue Lukes


Abubakar, Year 13 student, read an account by a former Central Foundation student, M R Silverberg, who was part of a medical team sent to Belsen Concentration Camp in Germany, two weeks after the camp was liberated. One of our School Captains, a member of our football team, and a medical student at UCL, Mr Silverberg wrote an account that captures an individual experience of the horrors of the Holocaust.

On Monday 30th April 1945, 96 London medical students, including myself, flew out from England to Belsen Concentration Camp, Germany. We were all volunteer members of a British Red Cross expedition, which was supposed to have gone to North Holland after its liberation to feed the starving. At Belsen we found the starving, certainly. When the British Army arrived to free the camp, there were approximately 50,000 people. When we arrived 13 days later there were about 38,000 living. All the dead had been removed and buried in mass graves holding 700 to 1,000 bodies. These mass graves had to be left open until they were filled. Each of us took charge of a hut, mine had 782 dead and alive in it. Approximately 100 were fit, by that I mean they could walk. The rest lay on the filthy floor, curled up because there was not the room to lie stretched out on their backs.

Our first and most important job was seeing that everybody received food. This was no easy task: just imagine a hundred starving women clamouring round a container of potato soup and one person trying to get the food to the sick first. After a few days had passed, some of the better and cleaner huts were evacuated and turned into hospitals. Patients were admitted, not as you may think, those people who were critically ill and near to death. The people admitted were those who we thought had more than a fifty percent chance of pulling round. The death rate remained very high – on the day we arrived 548 people died, 17 days later on 17th May the total deaths was 97. I can only judge the camp by the standards in my hut. After such a short time the remaining people had begun to resume a civilised outlook on life again. Snatches of song were constantly heard throughout the day, and, miraculous as it seemed, they began to used to the idea of trying to wash themselves and comb what hair the Germans had left on their heads.

I have purposefully omitted the horror stories that I have witnesses and heard about. They comprise something which should be written about, but isolated from all things else. If this account has helped you form an impression of Belsen my aim is satisfied. One thing I would like to impress upon you all: nothing you have read or seen is adequate. It is impossible for any civilised being to be fully aware of what exactly did go on there until he sees it for himself.”



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For more information regarding the IC6 schools and courses please visit the courses page or contact the IC6 Coordinator via email,, or phone 020 77017 3040.


To apply for a place at Central Foundation Boys’ School Sixth FormPlease Click Here