Recently I was invited to attend a Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony at Alkira Secondary College.

The ceremony was part of the VCAL program and involved prayers, poems and speeches from teachers, students and guest speakers.

Guest speakers included John Chaskiel, a Buchenwald survivor, Ahron Shapiro from Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), Phil Symons OAM and myself.

The students involved in the ceremony were; Matthew Ferguson, Joel Spencer, Jesse Vanderwiel, Amy Hanks, Teagan Bennett, Chanal Schepen, Sean Sturzaker, Jamie Mascuilli, Zach Rault and Brittany Bartholomew.

The ceremony was very moving and I was captivated by all who spoke.

Ceremonies like this are important in honouring and paying tribute to the victims of the terrible evils of the past.

Never forget. Never again.


Below is a copy of a magnificent speech written and delivered by Sean Sturzaker, Jamie  Mascuilli and Zach Rault.

By Jamie, Zach and Sean

It was estimated that 6 million Jewish people died during the Holocaust,6 million… that is a hard number to appreciate. That’s equivalent to 60 MCG arena’s filled with 100,000 people each, it seems like it is a fairly comprehensible representation, but is it really?

As young people we benefit from our schools ensuring that we are educated in not only the events that led up to World War Two, but that we are taught about the monstrosities of the Holocaust.  Although there are stories, images and statistics that opened out eyes to these horrors, the greatest lesson we have learned is that inherent evil exists within mankind  and that it is up to us to ensure that no one will ever again have to endure this hardship so that history never repeats itself.

From our studies we have come to learn that the Holocaust is man’s most inhumane act of genocide, humiliation, discrimination and anti-Semitism at its absolute worst in the history of mankind. Several amounts of text and film have been created based upon the events that took place in the holocaust, films such as Schindlers List and texts such as Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night, have allowed us to have a closer and more detailed  understanding of the events that happened during the Holocaust, as well as impacting the way we feel about the holocaust in general.

Our school has given us several opportunities to further extend our knowledge on the various events that took place such as when our Year 11 English classes attended the Melbourne Holocaust museum excursion on the seventh of March, On this eye-opening day we were granted the privilege to speak to holocaust survivors and hear the stories of what they faced during these horrendous time.

Near the end of the day we were able to listen to Jack Foegl a holocaust survivor  who endured segregation and away forced to hide; all of this at about our age. This fact helped me to connect and relate more to Jacks story. Jack spoke of the time he was arrested and imprisoned to the time of his escape and liberation. He was shaking when he spoke and trembled with some stories and looked like he was on the verge of crying, but not once did I detect a sense of hatred in his voice. I feel honoured and privileged to be able to hear his story despite the pain and potential repercussion of having to relive these moment.  Despite this, Jack still shares his experience so that we as young people can learn from it.

Learning about this tragedy has impacted us greatly. Having heard personal testimonies, read Holocaust Literature and attending the Holocaust Museum, we have been taught to not only appreciate historical facts, but the moral lessons of the Holocaust. This will help to shape our future. We are all human and therefore all equal. It is these lessons we will take with us throughout life to ensure that history never repeats itself. We pay our
respects  and ensure that we never forget.
Thank you