Prisoners in Northern Ireland have created a Holocaust Memorial Day exhibition space for schoolchildren based in 1940s Nissen huts.
Inmates at Magilligan Prison, in County Londonderry, developed Empty Spaces after participating in a Holocaust Memorial Day Trust workshop, which Deputy Governor Gary Milling helped them develop.
Prisoners cleared out the huts, then created stunning artwork depicting scenes from the camps. They also chose suitable digital resources to tell the life stories of victims. Visitors said the most poignant moment was spending time in a hut in which prisoners had painted more than 600 names of victims.
A dozen school groups have now visited, as has Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister David Ford, who said: “I’m very impressed by the work of the prisoners, and the fact that schools will learn about the importance of honouring survivors of past atrocities.”
Milling said: “The buildings at Magilligan which we are using for the display are similar to the type which would have been in use during the war, and these empty spaces will be filled with the voices, stories and pictures of victims, survivors.
“Part of the project has also been prisoner involvement in the creation of the materials and spaces.
“It is their way of not standing by – contributing to the promotion of Holocaust Memorial Day and the development of young people in our community.”
Shirley Lennon, an HMDT regional support worker, said: “This is an exciting, unique project and we are delighted to support Magilligan Prison. It is a very effective way of encouraging schools and local communities to raise awareness.”