Annual Journey to the Memorial Site for the students of Kerpen School

Since 2001 a group of students from the Gesamtschule Kerpen travel to Oświęcim, Poland at the end of each January to visit the Auschwitz Museum and join the annual commemorations for the liberation of Auschwitz. The idea arose after the towns of Oświęcim and Kerpen started a partnership with a focus on life. To be part of the journey to Poland is a voluntary choice on the part of the students and it is open to students in years 10 and 12. They prepare for the programme during the school’s project week in November.

The main part of the programme is to deal with the Nazi policy of extermination and its camp in Auschwitz. The three day stay is therefore dedicated to this, and includes guided tours through the former Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, a visit to the art exhibition in Harmeżę and participation in commemorative ceremonies.

The confrontation on the one hand is based on facts and takes place on an intellectual level. On the other hand, it is also based on emotion, and the participants are given the opportunity to show their personal sympathy and grief.

The meeting with a time witness plays a great role for both approaches and is an important part of the programme, for as long as this might be possible.

Additionally, another aim of the participants is to learn more about Polish history and culture. Therefore, a visit to the town and Synagogue of Oświęcim and the city of Kraków are also important parts of the programme.