Commemorating 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz

Holocaust-Memorial

By Clare Jarmy, Head of Able, Gifted & Talented, Oxbridge, Academic Scholars & PRE

Following Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January, Abi Wharton and I reflected on the Shoah – a Jewish term meaning ‘the destruction’, which has been given to the atrocities committed against Jews, and others, by the Nazi regime – at Jaw on Wednesday.

Holocaust Memorial Day is especially poignant this year, as it marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, the concentration camp in Poland where 1.1 million people were murdered by the Nazis.

At Jaw, we heard about Arnold Arnold (né Schmitz), a political and religious refugee and a German Jew, who came to Bedales during the 1930s on a full bursary after his family’s assets were seized. Interestingly, in his obituary, the claim was made that Bedales was – at that time – the only school that would consider accepting a Jewish student. We are not sure what, if anything, substantiates this – Eton’s Jewish Society has already celebrated a centenary, for example. Whether or not this claim is true, the perception that Bedales was unusual in having its doors open to Jewish students is an interesting one.

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Transformative Education

By Clare Jarmy, Head of Philosophy, Religion & Ethics

An education is a transformative thing, and a great education can lead to a great transformation. Every student at Bedales is fortunate to have so many opportunities. Being part of a school like this, someone has invested in that transformation. For many, parents make this investment. Sometimes, it is grandparents. I have even known students paying their own fees out of inherited money. Others, and I was one of them, get to come to a school like this with the support of others, through bursary programmes. I can speak as one who knows: bursaries transform lives.

Patrick Derham, OBE, the Headmaster of Westminster, and formerly Rugby, knows this better than most. We were so fortunate to have him speak at Jaw on Wednesday, and the impact his talk had on students was palpable. Having, like me, been to seven schools before the age of 12, he was an ‘Ari Boy’, educated aboard the permanently moored vessel Arethusa. One day, he was asked ‘Do you know what Public School is, Derham?’ ‘No, Sir’, he replied. The school aboard the Arethusa was disbanded overnight, and he was sent off to Pangbourne College, a beneficiary of a bursary from an anonymous donor. It changed his life, giving him opportunities beyond his wildest dreams.

He took advantage of every chance, getting to Pembroke College, Cambridge, and has spent his career determined to give back. He started the celebrated Arnold (bursary) Foundation at Rugby, and from that went on to found Springboard, a national charity linking young people to places at boarding schools. He is involved with numerous other projects, all concerned with providing excellent educational opportunities to young people in difficult circumstances.

I can see why he said this was what ‘gets him out of bed in the morning’. Last year, I was thrilled and deeply moved to be asked to be a trustee of our own John Badley Foundation. Through the work of the JBF, students with backgrounds more like mine, and those much less fortunate than I was, can get to come here, and just as happens with every child, experience the transformation that comes from a great education.

For more information about the John Badley Foundation, click here.