History student Michael Hart presents Holocaust survivor Joanna Millan with a gift from St Patrick’s Grammar School Armagh
The History Department in St Patrick’s Grammar School recently had the opportunity of hosting a visit from Holocaust survivor, Joanna Millan. The Lord Mayor, Sharon Haughey introduced Joanna and emphasised how privileged St Patrick’s students were to be able to meet such an inspirational woman. Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon and representatives of the Good Relations Department from Armagh City and District Council also helped St Patrick’s welcome their very special guest. Joanna spoke to over 340 students in St Patrick’s Grammar school and talked with warmth and honesty about her experiences of growing up in Nazi occupied Europe.
Holocaust survivor Joanna Millan speaks to students of St Patrick’s Grammar School Armagh
Joanna was born Bela Rosenthal in August 1942 in Berlin. At the end of February 1943, Bela’s father was taken from the streets of Berlin and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau where he was killed. Later that year in June, Bela and her mother were taken from their home and sent to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp 50 miles outside of Prague. In 1944, when Bela was two, her mother contracted TB due to the conditions in the camp, leaving Bela orphaned and alone in the camp. The conditions in the camp were horrendous and, in addition to the dangers in Thereseienstadt, there was always the threat of being sent on to Auschwitz. It is approximated that only 11% of those who entered Threseienstadt survived. Therefore it is even more surprising that a three year old orphan defied all odds to survive. Food was scarce. There were none of the assumed childhood ‘basics’ such as toys and Joanna remembers that she and five other young orphans were mostly left to their own devices and looked after each other like family. This is particularly moving when we realise that the oldest of these orphans was only three years and ten months when they were rescued from the camp.
The History Department of St Patrick’s Grammar School marked Holocaust Memorial Day
Eamon Devine, Mantas Kaupas, Mr Mark Wardil, Mrs Una Lennon, Patrick McAleavey, Eamon Livingstone and Mrs Julianne Denvir.
(27th January) with a visit from Mr Mark Wardil, a specially trained Holocaust Educator representing the Holocaust Education Trust. The aim of this programme is to raise awareness and understanding of the Holocaust and other genocides with a view to combatting racism, sectarianism and bigotry in the 21st Century. History students were given the opportunity to discuss pre war Jewish life by examining photographs of Jewish families in everyday situations such as starting school or playing with their children. This initiative is part of the “Names not Numbers” programme that encourages the recognition of Holocaust victims as individuals and urges young people to humanise the tragedy that led to six million Jews being exterminated in World War Two.
SIXTEEN students from St Patrick’s Grammar School in Armagh have recently returned from a week long visit to the Brasov area in Romania. The students were accompanied by staff members Mrs Úna Lennon and Ms Nicola McCreesh. And as in previous years, they were joined by pupils from Holy Trinity and Cookstown High School, and their staff, Mrs Elaine McDonald, Ms Cara Quinn, Mr Paul Carson and Mr Kevin O’Boyle. The group was led by Mrs Mary Hogg and Mr Jim McQuaid and the total number of students amounted to 41.
It was a busy week for all concerned. On a few occasions large institutions were visited by the whole group but in the main the group subdivided into two or three groups to facilitate visits to smaller institutions. Before the visit students had engaged in many fundraising activities to provide aid for orphanages and the old people’s home visited in Sacele. Most of the aid was purchased in Romania, but some essential medical aid was purchased at home and taken out by students and staff.
From 26th – 29th October 2011, 43 Junior students took part in the latest French Trip to Paris, where they had a fantastic time, taking in historic sites such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre museum and perfecting their French along the way!
They visited the impressive Stade de France and spent some of their Euros on the latest French Jerseys.