Newcastle students from Walker Technology College were among only 12 groups throughout the UK who have been chosen to create special artwork for Holocaust Memorial Day.
They were commissioned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust to create artwork honouring Sir Nicholas Winton, as part of a initiative marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau today.
Event Organiser at Walker Technology College Hannah Wilson said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important focal point in the year and we are delighted to have been chosen to be part of this nationwide commemoration.
“It is vital that we remember and reflect upon the horrors of the past, and honour those who survived and those who showed great bravery in the face of adversity.”
In response to this year’s theme, Flames for Humanities Heroes, the students, ranging aged 11 to 18, chose to celebrate the life and bravery of Sir Nicholas Winton, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 105.
Sir Nicholas was recognised for saving 669 Czech-Jewish children from persecution by the Nazis.
The students created an installation which reflects Winton’s kindness, modesty and heroic legacy, which is influenced by their personal responses to the plight of the evacuated children and seeks to represent the difficulties that they may have faced during the Holocaust.
Working with a range of objects, texts and artistic materials, the students were inspired by a guest visit from Lady Milena Grenfell Baines, who was one of the children Sir Nicholas saved.
Alongside the individualised suitcases, each with its own identification number, the artwork also features an extract from a poem by Milena’s sister Eva, based upon her own experience of being an evacuee.
Olivia Marks-Woodman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: “I want to thank and congratulate the students of Walker Technology College for their hard work in creating this artwork, which is a fitting tribute to Sir Nicholas Winton, helping to remind us all of our responsibilities not to stand by to hatred and persecution.
Coun David Stockdale, cabinet member for Communities and Facilities at Newcastle City Council, said: “It’s both a great achievement for Walker Technology College and a proud accolade for the region, with only twelve other groups recognised throughout the whole country.
“It is very important that young people like those at Walker Technology College are producing challenging and thought provoking works that will be admired by audiences up and down the land.”