Saxmundham Free School was one of two schools that shared the top honours in this year’s Dora Love Prize – an annual competition which aims to make sure the dreadful atrocities suffered by millions because of genocide and persecution are never forgotten, and that students develop a sense of personal responsibility for the world we live in today.
Saxmundham Free School in Suffolk and Colchester Royal Grammar in Essex were joint winners and were presented with their prize – £250 for each school – by Holocaust survivor, and competition Patron, Frank Bright.
For their entry, students from Saxmundham Free School designed a board game which could be played in two ways, contrasting the journey of a modern day refugee to the UK with that of someone from the Kindertransport in 1938. The students used the game to help deliver sessions about refugees on the theme ‘Torn Form Home’ when visiting primary schools. The board game has been seen by the National Migration Museum in London and will form part of their exhibition and will be used with groups of visiting schools.
Saxmundham Free School also developed a website and used Instragram to spread the message about the importance of tolerance in today’s society. The entry from Saxmundham Free School contained a song inspired by the experiences of children taken on the Kindertransport, pieces of art and a poem that was performed along with the song in the final of the event at the University of Essex.
Dora Love, who lived in Colchester until her death in 2011, was a Jewish Holocaust survivor who spent much of her life raising awareness of the dangers of intolerance and discrimination.
The Dora Love Prize, set up in 2012 by Emeritus Professor of history Rainer Schulze, continues her work and is awarded each year to the best school project that links learning about the Holocaust with the world we live in today. It is open to schools in Essex and Suffolk.
Professor Schulze said: “All projects submitted to the Dora Love Prize were of such a high standard that our panel of judges found it really difficult to decide on a winner. In my view, all projects are winners: all schools shared their projects in their school assemblies, with local primary schools and other groups in their community – doing exactly what the Dora Love Prize is about: standing up against discrimination and hatred, speaking out and working for a world where everyone is accepted and respected as a fellow human being.”
This year’s competition attracted entries from schools across East Anglia – with many of the high schools working with their feeder primary schools on projects to remember the Holocaust and involve more students.
Frank has been Patron of the competition since it was set up and has given talks to pupils about his life and warn of the dangers of discrimination and hatred which persist in today’s society. As a young boy Frank (now 90) was sent to Auschwitz, where both of his parents were killed in the gas chambers, leaving him an orphan. He came to Britain after his liberation, and he featured in the BBC 2 documentary The Last Survivors, screened on Holocaust Memorial Day – Sunday 27 January.