A pair of school pupils have pledged to spread a message of tolerance after an emotional visit to a concentration camp.
Molly Shewan and Paulina Prorok, both S6 pupils at Bridge of Don Academy, were selected for the trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau, along with teacher Jess Beattie, by the Holocaust Educational Trust.
Both Paulina and Molly said the legacy of the emotional visit had been a fresh determination to highlight the dangers of racial and ethnic discrimination.
Molly said: “Hearing survivors’ stories, as well as a rabbi who came to speak to us as well, really drove home how important it is that we challenge discrimination when we see it.”
In the coming months, the pair hope to hold assemblies along with lessons for the younger pupils at the school about discrimination.
Molly, 16, said: “It’s about challenging a collectivist mindset, because younger people sometimes say things that they really don’t mean, but they’re just going along with it because of their friends.
“Our aim is to show them that it can get much worse if we don’t challenge it.”
Paulina, 16, said: “We don’t want to focus too much on the camp itself, instead we want to look more at treating each other well, and speaking out about things like racism.
“When we were there, it was scary how well you could link it to the present day, and how if we don’t stop it, there’s a chance it could happen now.
“There’s discrimination in general, but more specifically there’s the travel ban in the US.
“It’s not the same thing, but it could so easily lead on to a situation that would be similar.
“It shares similarities with things that happened in the 1940s.”
The visit left a lasting effect on the pair, with both hoping to take the message forward after they leave school.
Paulina said: “It was a lot more emotional than I thought it was going to be.
“Because the way that we’ve been taught it is fairly distant, so just being there and seeing the pictures of the people, it was more powerful than I thought it would be.”
Molly said: “It’s so confined, and you come out of one block and straight into another, so the whole day was pretty intense.”