Mr Tomi Reichental, a survivor of the Holocaust, met students from Ardee community School recently.
Ardee Community School has been involved in the Cinemobile School Twinning Project, which is funded directly by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. School twinning is a cross-border initiative which is based on the concept of school twinning along the border. By participating in this programme the TY students get to integrate and foster friendships between students from different backgrounds on the island of Ireland. Ardee Community has been twinned with Dromore High School county Down. The idea behind school twinning is to introduce students from different backgrounds, allowing them to work together and explore the very human theme of conflict and conflict resolution through the medium of film.
The students watched the film ‘The Tenth Generation’. This film features the story of Slovakian-born Tomi Reichental, now long-resident in Ireland, giving his account of imprisonment, at the age of nine, in Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp in Germany.
The students were honoured to be given a discussion on the film by Tomi Reichental himself. For over 50 years he didn’t speak about the horrific scenes he witnessed. He lost a staggering 35 extended family members in the Holocaust. Until recently Tomi felt unable to speak of his experiences. However as Ireland rapidly became multi-culturals, he chose to break his silence and set out on a mission of remembrance and touring schools to tell his story as a lesson in ethnic tolerance.
In the afternoon the TY students from both schools participated in a workshop delivered by Joe Blake entitled ‘Healing through Remembering’. Healing through remembering is an extensive cross-community organisation made up of a range of members holding different political perspectives working on a common goal of how to deal with the legacy of the past as it relates to conflict in Northern Ireland. On Wednesday 16 October the TY Students in Ardee Community School will travel to Dromore High School for the second part of this exciting project.