Memorial garden reminds us to be ‘upstanders, not bystanders’.

A memorial garden dedicated to the memory of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust was unveiled yesterday by Holocaust survivors Tom Fleming and Peter Gyenes, with volunteers from Courage to Care.

The garden was planted in the College grounds and features an Olive tree and Rosemary bushes, symbolising peace and remembrance for those whose lives were irreversibly altered as a result of the Shoah (The Holocaust).

As part of their study of the Holocaust, Year 9 students were involved in the creation of the garden and decorated small stones which have been scattered amongst the plants. Traditionally, small stones are placed by people who visit Jewish graves as an act of remembrance and respect for the deceased.

Students have learned about the horrors of the Holocaust in class – engaging with primary sources such as memoirs, artworks, photographs and video testimonies of those who perished during the Holocaust and those who survived.

The garden serves as a place of commemoration and a reminder to students that when they encounter any form of oppression, we are called to be ‘upstanders, not bystanders’ and uphold the dignity of all and promote the common good.

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As part of our calling to walk with Christ, we pledge to actively reject prejudice, intolerance and hate and promote the dignity of all peoples for the common good.

To conclude their study, the students took part in workshops conducted by Courage to Care and heard the moving stories from Holocaust survivors Tom Fleming and Peter Gyenes. Courage to Care is an organisation specialising in Holocaust education, promotes acceptance and educates Australians about the dangers of prejudice, racism and discrimination.

This was an incredible opportunity for students as they are part of the last generation who is likely to hear these stories firsthand from the people who lived through it. Tom and Peter told students of how they were separated from family members, the horrific conditions they were faced with and how they finally came to freedom. Meeting these survivors and hearing their stories was a privilege and an incredibly humbling experience.

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“The fact that these students developed such an understanding of Jewish history and culture and used stones to symbolise that Jewish people died during the Holocaust, moved me”. - Barbara Hornung

“As a child of a survivor of Auschwitz Birkenau and Bergen Belsen, I was deeply touched and moved by the memorial garden that the Year 9 students of Marian College created. To know that the memory of my people who were murdered during The Holocaust has been honoured in this way brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.” - Mimi Teeger

For more information on Courage to Care - https://couragetocare.com.au/