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Judge Rinder tells Wolverhampton pupils the importance of 'ordinary people' of the Holocaust

Television personality and barrister Judge Rinder has spoken to students about the importance of the "ordinary person" in the Holocaust.

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WOLVERHAMPTON COPYRIGHT TIM STURGESS EXPRESS AND STAR 25/01/202 Highfields school in Wolverhampton has a ‘Ordinary People’ themed mini exhibition to mark Holocaust memorial day. Students pictured with staff, left, Jemma Tappenden and front Jodie Ellis....

Students of Highfields School, on Boundary Way, Wolverhampton, participated in Holocaust Memorial Day by sitting in educational assemblies, form time projects, and a special online Q&A session with Judge Rinder

As part of the online session, the students were given the opportunity to pose questions to Robert Rinder, who is of Jewish heritage, and whose paternal grandfather is a Holocaust survivor.

In the interview, Judge Rinder said: "As part of these talks you are learning about the history of not only my family but also the family of everyone who survived these horrors.

"For myself and my mother, it is important that these stories are heard and that through learning these real-world accounts you are helping to stop future injustices, and that in a way you are also becoming part of our family and our history."

Judge Rinder

Jemma Tappenden, head of history at Highfields School, has been leading the children in learning about the small, more individual side of history, focusing on what a single person can accomplish.

She said: "When we normally teach history as part of the curriculum, we look at history as a whole, but this project is all about looking at the micro side of history. This is about looking at what one person can do as just a single person who plays a huge role in history.

"This isn't really just about keeping the memory alive, it's also about the role that we all play as individuals in history and the role we play in stopping any future discrimination."

Students from 12 schools across the country joined in the talks, all prepared with questions for Mr Rinder that would look at what he and his mother learned by exploring their Jewish heritage.

Posters placed at Highfields School to provide information on the Holocaust

Two year 10 students of Highfields School, asked Mr Rinder: "Since you learned more about the story of your own family, the Malenickys, are you able to view those responsible for the horrors of the Holocaust as just 'ordinary people'."

Mr Rinder answered: "I think that when someone studies the Holocaust, it's far too easy to place yourself in the shoes of the victims, but it's much harder to place yourself in the shoes of the perpetrators.

"What we need to realise is that all of the people who were involved in these atrocities were just normal people, they were milkmen and neighbours, they were families. And everyone is susceptible to falling victim to this type of indoctrination."

In the poignant answer, Mr Rinder talked about the dangers of indoctrination and the importance of individuals standing up to injustices by learning from the individual stories of those who lived through the Holocaust.

Mr Rinder continued: "I think it is important to realise that everyone can be susceptible to this type of indoctrination, before these people were involved in this they were just ordinary people.

"As the future generation and teachers of the generation after, it is important that you go on to teach people about these injustices so that these things don't happen again in the future."

Ms Tappenden continued: "What learning from Judge Rinder has taught the students is that everyone may have a link to this time in history, and that it is up to us all to stop future injustices that may arise.

"The children were amazed to find out that Mr Rinder had this history behind him, they really didn't expect it and they thought that it added a more human touch to him as well."

The online Q&A sessions came as Judge Rinder took part in 'The Holocaust, Their Family, Me and Us', which sees Mr Rinder help Jewish families discover the full truth about what happened to their relatives during the Second World War.

Students at Highfields School were continuing to take part in more planned events, culminating in an exhibit focusing on the notorious Jewish suitcases, where students will fill out luggage labels to create a wall of luggage with personalised messages on.

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