Fleetwood Students Attend Live Virtual Auschwitz Tour

Posted on April 28, 2022 by


On Thursday, 31 March, media teacher Mr. Sean Gaston screened a live virtual tour of Auschwitz for a group of his students in his Intro to the Holocaust class. The tour was led by an expert guide who answered questions afterward.

The tour, held by the Center for Holocaust Education of the East Valley Jewish Community Center, was from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Gaston screened it in his classroom for students in his Introduction to the Holocaust Through Film and Literature class. 

 The tour uses Holocaust survivor testimonies, historical footage and photographs, modern animation, and virtual reality tools to simulate the experience for students. In the days beforehand, Gaston gave some insight on his thoughts on what to expect.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what this trip entails because I’ve been to Auschwitz and toured both Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau, so it’ll be interesting to see what they can include in two hours and if doing it this way is a way for students to experience being there without actually being there,” Gaston said.

 There was no fee for students to attend, and the costs for the tour were split between Fleetwood and another school district. The money used came from the grant awarded to Gaston from the Jewish Federation of Reading and the Reading Symphony Orchestra.

After the tour, some students gave their thoughts on the experience.

 “It really put the events of what happened into perspective. You think you have a good understanding of what happened, and then you see the pictures and the things left behind. Everything you thought you knew is blown out of the water,” sophomore Claire Roth said.

Sophomore Kyen Yoder also weighed in after the tour.

“It’s shocking and eye-opening. I think it’s definitely important to talk about it because it’s history,” Yoder said.

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Posted in: Meghan Emery