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October 21, 2004


Mr Wood


Back safely after an emotional, tiring, but throughly enjoyable trip to Poland and the Czech Republic.

We seemed to cram in much more than was possible in the time we had, especially considering we spent a combined total of 24 hours on the bus (9 hours from Prague to Krakow and back again)!!

The trip to Auschwitz was, without doubt, be the most memorable and emotionally challenging part of the trip. To stand in the gas chamber and witness the crematoria used to murder millions of Jews was a truly haunting experience. One that I, and the students of Musselburgh Grammar, will never forget. On a personal level, I was struck by the sheer size and scale of the two camps we visited (Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz-Birkenau which was the main extermination camp). This was a genuine "industrial" operation with the sole, grotesque purpose of murdering an entire race of human beings. There are so many images from the trip that will remain with us all, many of them we may never fully comprehend.

Nevertheless, I must draw attention to the exemplary behaviour and attitude displayed by all of our students. Each and every one of you were superb amabassadors, not only for Musselburgh Grammar, but for Scotland and humanity. This is not just a very proud teacher trying to make our school sound great; our students were complimented by our Auschwitz guide as the best behaved group she had ever met, commenting on the dignity and respect you showed during the visit. The fact we received further positive comments on your behaviour later on in Prague just adds further to the great reputation you established for yourselves.

You have taken on a great responsibility to learn about, visit and remember the atrocities committed at Auschwitz. As the survivors of the horror at Auschwitz pass away, they will pass the torch of remembrance onto you so that future generations never forget what happened in that awful place.

Having enjoyed 4 days in your company as a group I have every confidence that you will carry that responsibility with great care for the rest of your lives. It was a privilege to share the experience with you all.

"Those who wish to build a better future, must first consult the past."

See you all on Tuesday.
Mr W

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