23 Aug 2017

Wednesday 23 August 2017

On Tuesday 22 August, our History students were invited to attend a presentation given by Holocaust survivor Peter Gaspar. 

230817 Holocaust Presentation


With a full Lecture Theatre, Peter delivered a captivating speech filled with anecdotes of his experience as a young Jewish boy surviving the Holocaust. 

Now based in Melbourne with his wife Lesley, Peter survived the war by hiding with his family for three years and then enduring six months in Terezin concentration camp.

With the aim to help students understand how the Holocaust affected him, Peter talked about being a child experiencing what he perceived as a game of ‘hide-and-seek’ from the Nazis.  

As a member of the community outreach organization Courage for Care, Peter travels to schools to teach students the impact of prejudice and discrimination. The kindness displayed by those that hid Peter from the Nazis saved his life and that ability to stand up to injustices is what he strives to teach students.

This is the fourth Holocaust survivor visit that History Head of Department Michael Stewart has arranged, considering it exceptionally important that students have exposure to these first-hand accounts.

“To be able to hear from someone who went through this horrific period will make a major difference to the understanding and study of this period of history,” says Michael.

Deputy Head Student Benji Flacks (Year 13, Marsden) says hearing such a harrowing and inspirational story reminded him of the impact of our individual actions.

“Peter made me think about the importance of being an ‘upstander’ not a ‘bystander’ and to be willing to stand up against intolerance.” 

Students at the College study the Holocaust in Year 9 as part of their Social Studies course and then again in Year 13 as part of the Cambridge International Examinations A-Level qualification.

In addition to presentations like this, the History department organises a trip to Europe every two years, giving students the opportunity to visit Auschwitz concentration camp and other historical sites.

The History department is already planning the next history-related visitor to the College and aims to continue to give students the opportunity to learn outside the classroom.