Students may know that it starts with prejudice, discrimination and bullying and that it is countered by knowledge and thought.
But still, for almost every student it remains an absolute shock to realise how easily a civilised nation can slide from civilisation into bigotry and thence to mass murder.
Indeed, such was the enormity of the horror that the Jewish population experienced in Europe at the hands of the Nazis that the only way in which religious studies students can begin the journey towards grasping these issues is by visiting the sites of the Holocaust.
It is an experience they will never forget and one that will transform their understanding of such issues as the problem of evil and the idea of a benevolent God.
Self-evidently a visit to Auschwitz will enhance an understanding of the physical side of the horrors. But it will also enhance the thinking processes that lay behind everything from the medical experiments of Dr Mengele to the dehumanisation process of converting people’s names into numbers.
Students can also visit the Jewish cultural area of Kazimierz in Kraków which includes an active synagogue and the Ghetto in the Podgorze district which incorporates Schindler’s factory.
There is also an exhibition documenting the remnants of Jewish culture and life in Galicia, which is divided into five sections, representing different ways of approaching the Jewish past: Jewish Life in Ruins, Jewish Culture as it Once Was, The Holocaust: Sites of Massacre and Destruction, How the Past is Being Remembered and People Making Memory Today.
Also in the region are the Wieliczka 13th century salt mines, one of the original World Heritage Sites under the auspices of Unesco. During the Second World War the site was used by the occupying Germans as a facility for industries related to their war effort.
The mine features an underground lake as well as a 3.5 km tour that takes in the historic statues and mythical figures carved out of rock salt across the past 700 years.
There is more information on our website at www.key-stage.co.uk/krakow-and-auschwitz/
But do remember, we’ll work with you to create the tour that meets your school’s specific requirements, and we’ll look after you every step of the way, helping to bring your ideas to life.
To discuss your specific needs you can call us on 0845 130 6070 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.