The Red Ribbon – Cross-curricular Holocaust education
This year, The Romsey School are fortunate enough to be one of 19 schools across the country to be selected to work with University College London (UCL) as a Beacon School for Holocaust education. The school are working closely with the Centre for Holocaust Education at UCL and other local schools to create and share outstanding lessons and educational opportunities for pupils both in Romsey and across Hampshire, in order to increase their understanding of the Holocaust.
As the main event in a series of activities to mark Holocaust Memorial Day this year, a group of Year 9 pupils have been busy working on a cross-curricular project which was inspired by a historical novel. The school was fortunate enough to win ten copies of The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington. It is a historical story, set in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during the Second World War. The book tells the story of the women who worked in the sewing room at Auschwitz, sewing couture clothes for the female guards and wives of the senior officers.
The pupils started the project by reviewing the book and learning about the historical background to the story with Alison McGrath, Lead Teacher of the Beacon School project at The Romsey School and member of the History department. This included learning about some of the real women who worked in the sewing room, as well as the wider context of Jewish persecution in Nazi-occupied Europe.
The pupils then worked with Librarian Fiona Crowther and Charlotte Champion from the English department to complete pieces of creative writing, each based around the story. Some chose poetry, others wrote about one of the characters or events in the book.
Finally they spent a day with Gail Cooper in the Textiles department, each designing and creating a textile panel inspired by the story. These were then joined together to make a wall hanging.
Alison McGrath said, “The pupils really enjoyed working on the project and learnt a great deal in the process. They were particularly thrilled when the book’s author, Lucy Adlington, sent three original 1940s buttons which were featured on the book cover, to add to the hanging”.
The work done by the pupils will be on display in Romsey Abbey to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day from 20 to 31 January 2018.