Exhibition visits Durham School

Between 20 April and 1 May, the exhibition Germany’s Confrontation with the Holocaust in a Global Context was hosted by Durham School in collaboration with Dr Marie Isabel Matthews-Schlinzig and Dr Catherine Moir, from the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham University.

About 300 pupils, teachers, and parents visited the exhibition during its stay in Durham. It was accompanied by a series of seminars that introduced pupils of years 9, 10, and 12 to a range of themes, including ‘Transnational Holocaust Memory’, ‘Artistic Responses to the Holocaust’, and ‘British Memory Culture’ (led by Dr Moir); and ‘Resistance’ (led by Dr Katharine Goda, Durham University). The seminars were supported by Durham University students: finalists Cecilia Cadman and Julia Borowska gave presentations on the ‘Nameless Library in Vienna’ and on ‘Polish Memory of the Warsaw Uprising’ respectively; second-year student Katie Unwin assisted with pupils’ work in class. On 29 April, Dr Moir gave an evening lecture which was attended by pupils, teachers, and parents. The talk focused in particular on past and present debates about memorialization and artistic representation of the Holocaust.

Feedback on the exhibition, the seminars, and the lecture was very positive; a selection of comments is included below. Dr Moir and Dr Matthews-Schlinzig would like to expressly thank Dr Michael Alderson, Senior Master at Durham School, for his engagement and support of the exhibition’s visit and of the programme of activities that accompanied it.

‘The exhibition is well put together and extremely thought provoking on many different levels. It’s a difficult task to encapsulate the sense of perspectives surrounding an event as traumatic and history-changing as the Holocaust and the exhibition really achieves this.

The boards and information concerning memorials and how we continue to remember the Holocaust were for me the most interesting and relevant. The exhibition […] worked as the perfect springboard for our resources and was the backbone of our seminars.

I have genuinely enjoyed my time working with the exhibition and hope it receives a similar reception wherever it travels to next!’

– Katie Unwin, student at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham University

‘I found the exhibition very helpful […]. It allowed me to not only learn something new but to refresh what I had learnt in the past about the Holocaust.’

– Charlotte Napper, pupil at St Leonards

‘Really […] insightful exhibition. I learnt a lot and it fuelled my passion for German.’

– Madison Lowes, pupil at Durham School

‘Overall I felt, and the students and staff agree, that it was very successful, beneficial and well done. The exhibition was used for History, Art and PSHE lessons and was flexible enough in content to be useful for all of these. The size of it and format worked well for a school also.’

– Diccon Tyreman, Head of History, Durham School

‘The VI Form Linguists from Durham School and St Leonard’s who had attended the Resistance seminar […] all […] thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and found it very useful. In some instances, pupils reported how surprised they had been at their own interest in the topic, of which they little or nothing beforehand. The lecture on the Thursday evening proved to be very successful and popular with the parents and the pupils.’

– Dr Michael Alderson, Head of German, Durham School

‘Thank you. We must never forget for all those that never came through. The world must never forget.’

– Graham Burnard, parent

Images and text by Marie Isabel Matthews-Schlinzig