Holocaust Memorial – Franciscan College Students Participate

The national Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration takes place on the Sunday nearest to 27 January every year.

The event honours the memory of all of the victims of the Holocaust: six million Jews as well as over five million other victims, persecuted because of their nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, religious beliefs or political affiliations. The inclusion of all of the victim groups is essential to the commemoration, highlighting the importance of education about anti-Semitism and all forms of intolerance.

On Sunday 26th January three students from Franciscan College Gormanston took part in the commemoration in the Mansion House, Dublin.

Head Girl and College Prefects

Head Girl and College Prefects

Head Girl – Niamh Kelly-Whyte, and College Prefects – Kate Brennan and Darragh Clarke read out names of Holocaust victims who had any Irish connections. They did the college proud! It was a solemn and dignified occasion leaving the 700 attendees with the message that we should never forget and that we should teach our children so that nothing like this ever happens again.

Participants in the occasion included Alan Shatter (Minister for Justice), Jennifer Johnston (novelist), Tommy Reichental (survivor living in Ireland), Sr Stanislaus Kennedy (founder of Focus Ireland), Brendan O’Connor (RTE presenter). The other schools reading out names were Drimnagh Castle, Fingal Community College and Stratford High School. Gormanston was invited to take part because of Ms Meighan’s connection due to her course in Holocaust Studies this year.

The Holocaust (Learning about and from it)

Senior Religion this year will see students and teachers engaging in a deeply sensitive and eye-opening topic – The Holocaust. Some of our approaches will involve looking at historical facts and personal stories. An understanding of the roles played by all people associated with the Holocaust – perpetrators, victims, rescuers and bystanders will also be a big feature of our studies. We will question how such an atrocity could ever have happened, and how it is possible to go from bias (non-criminal) to the annihilation of an ethnic group – genocide.

The Pyramid of Hate

The Pyramid of Hate

As the course continues students will read stories based on fact, research the events and look at a film portraying a viewpoint of the Holocaust. One of the key aims is to examine our own behaviour as non-criminal people, but still to identify our role in preventing any level of individual prejudice and combatting systematic discrimination. Here is the reading list that will be furnished to students:

Reading List:

‘If This is Man’ and ‘The Truce’ by Primo Levi

‘The Reader’ by Bernard Schlink

Neighbours’ by Jan T Gross

‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank

‘Fateless’ by Imre Kertesz

‘Beyond These Walls: Escaping the Warsaw Ghetto’ by Janina Bauman

‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak

‘Nine Suitcases’ by Bela Zsolt

‘Hanna’s Suitcase’ by Karen Levine

‘Faraway Home’ by Marilyn Taylor

‘Sophie Scholl and the White Rose’ by Annette Dumbac and Jud Newborn


Schindler’s List

Life is Beautiful

The Pianist


The Counterfeiters













From an academic point of view, this aspect of the Senior Religion course will be advantageous due to its cross-curricular nature. Current history, English and future psychology, philosophy students will derive countless benefits from this in-depth study. These lessons will encompass some of the characteristics at the core of human nature – survival, fear, aggression, struggle, protection, indifference, compassion, hope, love to name but a few.

By way of introduction, we will look at an artefact found at Auschwitz-Birkenau – a shoe – in order to gain an understanding of the person (a child) behind that artefact. Have a look at this profound examination of such a shoe: