ATROCITIES: Warning for all generations

The pages on a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, show some of the work being done to tell the present young about the terrible results of an nation being taken over by a regime intent on discrimination.

When the British Army entered Bergen-Belsen the news reels shown that week were not bearing any certificates, and young and old saw the terrible report. I was 11 and a half and my brother seven. Nothing was done to protect anyone learning the truth.

Since that newsreel, I have tried to learn how a people could be persuaded to inflict such actions on another group of our brethren and I have read as much as I could find.

I started with the book on the Nuremberg trials. More recently, using a computer I learnt that five women were hanged after that trial, and one was only 21 the week of the sentence being carried out.

She can have been only 15 at the start of the war and she wanted, on leaving school, to be a nurse.

Like all youths, she had been a member of the Hitler Youth before the war.

In the 1970s, I spent some time with Germans on an exchange from Germany, one summer in Northumberland and the other in Cologne.

The Germans did not like our school at Longhirst for young boys in trouble. They were completely against any form of uniformed youth movements whatsoever.

The people we were meeting were children of the war and totally dismayed at what had happened with that generation.

It took a long time for that generation of Germans to recover from the events of the concentration camps.

Various experiments carried out with groups of people split in two, with top dogs and the underlings, have shown that the human being is susceptible to becoming discriminatory and being prepared to inflict injuries on others.

Often, such experiments have had to be stopped before worse happens.

I think the dangers have been illustrated in some of the TV episodes of Big Brother, a programme I do not like to watch.

I hope the pupils of the Duchess’s school get some warning memories.

The 20th century was not good, but such atrocities are still in the world. Look at what is being done by Isis in the name of Islam, well reported.

Anne Wrangham.