On 27 January, Eton commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day and the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. As this year’s theme, ‘stand together’, called for a recognition of our collective humanity and the dangers of extremism and prejudice, we hosted two events which celebrated the passion and interests of our school community.

Monday evening saw 240 boys gather in Upper School to hear six teachers demonstrate their expertise in English, history and divinity. We heard ADH reply to Adorno, and his question of whether there can be poetry after Auschwitz. TAD led us through a close reading of Geoffrey Hill’s poem September Song, whilst JDH and LEM-B considered different ways of responding to Holocaust, through the Judenplatz Memorial in Vienna and the idea of searching for God respectively. Finally, DY and ML used their family histories to tell incredible stories of human courage and love.

We heard that persecution on the scale of the Holocaust, and the genocides in Darfur, Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia that have followed it, is only possible if there is no resistance. And that resistance, in a climate of fear, authoritarianism and control, is a very difficult thing.

Boys continued the theme of standing together on Tuesday evening in a candle-lit symposium of readings and music. 10 boys read selections of poetry and prose, which ranged from Elie Wiesel to Antoni Stonimiski, with the evening culminating in a performance of Bach’s Cello Suit No.2 by LS.

You can find out more about the annual day of commemoration here.