Do No Harm

Joshua Anderson – Deputy Head Boy

Do no harm

On 9th July, Year 12 students had a webinar with a 96-year-old survivor of the Holocaust, Iby Knill. Joshua Anderson, Deputy Head Boy, reflects on this and his visit to a former concentration camp earlier in the year.

After visiting Bergen-Belsen on the 12th February and witnessing the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, my eyes have been forever opened by the extremely powerful testimony of Iby Knill. Despite the horrific trauma she has faced, she has an extremely positive resolve towards all aspects of life, including holding no resentment to those at Auschwitz-Birkenau. After being liberated, she spent time working in the home office where she was the only woman out of 50 men. 

After living an extremely normal life up until the 1930s, she noticed a major turning point in 1935 from the introduction of the Nuremberg laws into society. As a young person at the time, she was shocked and confused as to why she was being made to wear a Star of David on her coat and being marked out from the rest of society. Her life was completely turned upside down when a family friend called Lucy was taken away to be used sexually by German soldiers in Russia. This appalled me as I was horrified to hear about how inhumane the Nazi regime was as they took an innocent teenage girl away from her home and forced her into a situation no one should ever have to experience.

After hearing the news, Knill escaped to Hungary as an illegal immigrant up until 1942, when an insider leaked the location of 148 Jewish men and women. The Nazis reacted swiftly and imprisoned her along with everyone else hidden within the network. They were sent to Auschwitz where one of the most upsetting comments I’ve ever heard appeared in one of her poems; Knill wrote: “only the strong and healthy will remain”. I felt extremely guilty when I read this and realised how lucky and privileged we are to have hot meals every single day, to never have to worry about if the water we’re drinking is clean or where we will sleep at night. In April 1944, Knill was sent on a death march towards Bergen-Belsen concentration camp until the march was intercepted by allied forces and her life as a prisoner due to her religion was over. 

After the meeting concluded, she said many powerful and extremely relevant things. She discussed how she has always lived by her father’s motto ‘Do no harm’ and on differences in class, gender, race and religion, she stated that “all differences should be valued and respected”. This remains relevant in today’s society with all the unjust actions that are being taken towards Muslims in concentration camps in China, who are also being persecuted because of their religion. She urged that as humans, we need to learn from the mistakes of the holocaust. Knill also mentioned the fact that “under the skin, we’re all the same”; we all need to understand and appreciate what has been shown to us by the BLM movement (our Head Girl Henna wrote an amazing piece on this which can be read HERE). 

I believe as a school, events like these are key to promoting global issues and as Deputy Head Boy, I was proud at the number of non-historians who turned up to hear the inspirational survivor talk about her experiences. 

I would like to thank Mrs Selby for organising this important event but, most importantly, I’d like to thank Iby Knill for helping us to keep the memory alive and aiding us in remembering the 6 million Jews who sadly lost their lives.  

Some useful websites can be found here if you’d like to hear more about Iby Knill or learn more about the holocaust.




Hard Work or Good Luck? Starting a New Month

“White rabbits”

“Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit”

“Pinch punch first day of the month”

Whatever you may say when you wake up to a new page on the calendar, let me ask why we may say these things? (Let’s leave aside their sometimes very strange origins: https://metro.co.uk/2018/10/01/why-do-we-say-white-rabbits-and-pinch-punch-on-the-first-day-of-the-month-7993616/)

I can put my hands up to admit that I am one of those people who like to say these ‘good luck’ mantras to just be on the ‘safe side’. But this left me to ponder why should we depend on these few words to help determine how these next 31, 30, 28 (or 29 in a leap year) days will go?

My own personal ethos (and that of Barr Beacon) fully agrees that hard work will always pay off no matter how long it takes. Success is not determined by luck. Only we can decide how we want to mould our futures, whether it is a long-term goal like wanting to pursue a certain vocation or a short-term goal like simply getting through a whole month and keeping yourself organised.  

A new month can commemorate a sense of change in ourselves like setting new goals to achieve. Perhaps we could take up a new skill, talk to a new face in one of our classes or even try something that we had always wanted to do but never had the chance to, such as staring a blog? (N.B. I’m talking autobiographically here!)

It is also a great time to look back on the last month and not forget what we have learned and how the world is changing. Both the Black Lives Matter movement (see the previous blog) and Pride Month has shown us that our world is striving closer towards equality that the people of these communities have always deserved. Starting a new month isn’t about moving on to the next ‘trending’ discourse but a chance to tackle these problems further until there is nothing to tackle. Remember to educate, sign petitions and donate to both communities as we need change.  

Now, a new month doesn’t always mean a new you and new goals. You shouldn’t ever feel limited to a date beginning the 1st to push you into a state of fresh starts. It could be in the middle of the month, in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day and you may feel in a little bit of a slump, but this doesn’t mean you have to wait another 15 days to start all over again. You can hit the refresh button whenever you like and the sooner you do, the closer you can get to reach this month’s goals you may have abandoned on the second square of the calendar.

But a new month is always a great place to reset and go. And go with passion, determination and never giving up.

For this new month of July which we’re all about to embark on, I hope we can all embody all of these qualities and when we hit the 31st I cannot wait to see all the amazing things we have achieved and that we can carry on with in the future.

Although we may not need it, as hard work will be the backbone of our successes, for this month and many more months to come… good luck!

For more information on the Black Lives Matter movement please read our previous blog post.

Here’s a page to petitions for LGBTQ+ rights: https://www.change.org/t/lgbt-rights-3

Here are some links to LGBTQ+ charities and communities which you can use to educate and donate if you can:

All Out: https://allout.org/en/what-all-out

London Gaymers: https://www.londongaymers.co.uk/

Switchboard: https://switchboard.lgbt/

Stonewall: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/

Pictured below are my rabbits Pippin and Luna wishing us all ‘good luck’ for this July!


Senior Team Blog: Black Lives Matter

By H. Kumar-Mehay, Head Girl

The world may seem to be a scary place right now. But the scariest thing of all is the thought of turning a blind eye to the issues in our society, the thought of not educating ourselves. Not just on the health issues that our world faces today but the social issues that people of colour, in particular that black people, face every day.

Over the past few weeks, the problems that face black people every day have suddenly caught the mainstream media’s attention and now hopefully yours. It seems that every few years the Black Lives Matter movement appears as ‘important’ as if these lives are only to be cared over a certain period of time. These problems, however, are not short term for this community. Unfortunately, it seems as if these problems that are faced are ones that have an unlimited lifespan. We cannot live in a world where a person’s skin colour determines if some people will come back home to their families. People should be able to live their lives without the constant fear of getting stopped for appearing ‘suspicious’, determining if they will live to see another day or die.

We should refuse to ignore this truth and refuse to not share this truth with others. If you are unaware of the problems that black people face today, I am not here to advise you to do some research. I am here to tell you that you must. You must research and educate yourselves to help fix a system built upon discrimination and antagonism. To help build a future we all deserve, we must be better so we can live in a world where we are emancipated from the destructiveness of injustice that affects black people today. In this day and age, it is simply not enough to not be racist. We need to be to actively anti-racist.

Thank you.

To all those black individuals who have lost their lives to injustice, we will fight for peace so that you can rest in peace. Here are some of those names. Names we must never forget.

Educate yourself

Reading list


BLM movement


White privilege and ally meaning


Links to educate




Where to donate if you can: https://linktr.ee/actionDONATE

Links for petitions

Sign the petition to issue a State executive order to hold police accountable for unlawful action

Sign the petition for British schools to implement teaching British children about black history here.

Sign the petition to Suspend UK export of tear gas, rubber bullets and riot shields to USA

Sign the petition for the UK government to condemn President Trump’s response to BLM protests here.

Sign the Justice for Belly Mujinga petition here.

Sign the Justice for Breonna Taylor petition here.

Sign the Justice for Tony McDade petition here.

Sign the Reopen Sandra Bland’s case petition here.

Sign the petition to raise the degree for Derek Chauvin’s murder charge here.

Sign the petition to battle racism by updating GCSE reading lists

Sign the petition to make it compulsory for Anti-Racism Education in U​.​K. Schools

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