Pupils at Rockwood Academy, run by CORE Education Trust, were left inspired after hearing first-hand the stories of survivors of two atrocities.
Ahmad Nawaz, aged 16, and 87-year-old Mindu Hornick revealed their harrowing experiences as part of a schools programme led by charity The Anne Frank Trust.
He played dead in a desperate bid to stay alive as the Taliban burned his teacher and killed his 13-year-old brother, as well as 147 other victims.
Ahmad, who is building a new life in Birmingham with his dad Muhammad and mum Samina, still receives regular treatment to his arm at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston.
Meanwhile, Mindu, of Edgbaston, was 13 when she was sent to Auschwitz – the notorious Nazi extermination camp.
She survived along with her older sister Bilu after a Polish prisoner advised the girls to lie about their ages and claim they were skilled seamstresses.
The Anne Frank Schools Programme includes workshops not only aiming to increase knowledge of the Holocaust and survivor Anne Frank, but also works to encourage pupils to understand the consequences of persecution, prejudice and discrimination.
An exhibition is also displayed at schools, Anne Frank: A History for Today, which explores Anne Frank’s story and the history of the Holocaust.
It’s the second year in a row that the two-week initiative has taken place at Rockwood Academy, with some pupils becoming ‘peers’ – guiding classmates around the exhibition. Similar workshops have also taken place at Nansen Primary School, which is also run by CORE Education Trust.
Rockwood Academy Principal Fuzel Choudhury: “What an honour and a privilege it has been for my pupils, staff and I to be able to hear first-hand from two individuals who have suffered more than it is possible to imagine.
“We commend Ahmad and Mindu for their great courage and dignity and I have no doubt that their stories will leave a lasting impression on the lives of all those who have had heard them.”
Adrian Packer, CEO of CORE Education Trust, said: “Our thanks to The Anne Frank Trust, which offers such an incredibly insightful and powerful approach to engaging and inspiring pupils.
“We are proud to have this well-established partnership with The Anne Frank Trust and we remain fully committed to continuing to bring Holocaust memorial initiatives to our schools.”
Robert Posner, Chief Executive of The Anne Frank Trust UK, said: “We are working tirelessly to ensure that our young people do not grow up in a dangerous and divided world.
“We educate young people about the history of ethnic and faith-based persecution to help them to understand the dangers of prejudice. We want young people to play their part in creating a future free from hatred.”