Could something like this happen again? I asked the students. Yes, they all responded with grim certainty.

I arrived bleary-eyed at Cardiff Airport just in time for my 5.30am check-in, caffeine the only thing keeping me going.

My travelling companions were 140 students from across Wales, each one looking more awake than I felt. We had all been invited by the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) for a day trip to Auschwitz Birkenau as part of their Lessons from Auschwitz project. The project aims to show the students the horrors of the camp firsthand, so they can pass on what they have learned as ambassadors.

Western Telegraph:

This year marked 75 years since the liberation of the Nazi death camp in Poland, where between 1940 and 1945 1.1 million people were murdered – mostly Jews.

"I'm certain it will happen again, because that's human nature," said Tieg Thomas, a pupil at Haverfordwest High. "We need to try to extend the period before it happens again.

"We have had a long period of peace in Europe and we need to hold on to that for as long as possible."

Seventeen-year-old Katie Morris from Greenhill school agreed: "You can see things like this in certain groups of people today. You can see the same idea and that's really scary. We will have to try to stop it from rising up again."

We arrived into Krakow with a slight chill in the air, our first stop was the town square of Oswiecim - Auschwitz as it was known to the Nazi Germans.

We huddle together, the students shivered, one young man bobbed up and down on his feet, hands firmly planted in his pockets.

Western Telegraph:

The students were asked to identify any Jewish markings in the square - the students could see none. Strange, our guide Anita Parmer from HET said, for a town which was once nearly 60 per cent Jewish, whose Rabbi once lived in the town square where we stood. Oswiecim has no Jewish population today.

Heading back to our buses, we stopped at a largely vacant plot of land, the spot once held a magnificent synagogue, now razed to the ground, in its place a simple bench - a spot for reflection.

But this bench was only placed there recently, perhaps a sign that even 75 years later it was difficult for the town to recognise its history, Anita suggested.

Western Telegraph:

As we walked down the broken pavement of Auschwitz 1, which was initially used to house Polish dissidents, the students were silent, the laughter of the bus evaporated in the cool air.

We walked from building to building, up stairs that dipped - worn by time - each room filled with cabinets and photographs of the horrors of Auschwitz. Cabinets filled with canisters of Zyklon B – the chemical used in the gas chambers – with pots and pans, and luggage emblazoned with names and addresses.

"They hoped they would get them back," one girl in my group said to the cabinet of suitcases in a quiet voice.

Western Telegraph:

In the next room, the left side of one room was dominated by a cabinet filled with the shoes of the men and women who were murdered there. In front of me, a lady pressed a tissue to her eyes while she stared into a small glass cabinet, walking on, sobbing silently. I peered into the glass. Two pairs of children's shoes, barely big enough for a toddler, and a pair of baby's dungarees stared back.

Western Telegraph:

"The cloth is made of human hair, they wanted long hair because it was easier to turn into textiles," our museum guide Marta said, pointing us to a cabinet with a few lengths of braided pigtails placed on top of a rough mat.

"Jews were tattooed, marked like cattle. Women were shaved all over, even between the legs, with a blunt razor," Marta added.

She moved us onto a cabinet filled with human hair which had turned woolly with age. The cabinet stretched back for several metres, filling the length of the room.

"I felt very confused when I was there," Tieg said "It kept coming back to me that I was in this place that I had heard so much about and I felt a bit disassociated with it.

"Seeing all the items left by those who were murdered in Auschwitz – the hair…" the 17-year-old trailed off.

"The hair got me, the amount of it, the grand scale of it. How you can see that each strand comes from a person, when you hear the numbers in school you can't quantify it."

Western Telegraph:

We were led to a room filled with a book several feet high. Each page was filled with the names of those that had died in the Holocaust, 4.2 million names were listed of the 6 million that died.

Western Telegraph:

The book is part of an effort to return the names to those that were taken by the Nazis.

Katie from Greenhill said seeing the book of names was the most shocking part for her. "There were just so many names," she said. "Pages and pages of names, I just didn't expect it."

We moved on to Birkenau –a camp three kilometres away from the original Auschwitz 1 camp. On the train tracks leading to the camp gate, someone had left a red flower that had begun to wilt and droop in the cold.

Western Telegraph:

The first thing that struck me about Birkenau was how horribly vast it was, stretching out for mile after mile of wooden huts and broken chimneys. Each one a place where people were forced to live, crammed together like animals.

Marta said women would sleep 12 to a shelf in each wooden shack and because dysentery was rife people would fight for the top bunks.

After an hour of walking, I didn't want to see them anymore. I found myself staring at the ground, overwhelmed by it all.

Western Telegraph:

"At the moment it is all still settling in," said 16-year-old Greenhill pupil, Martha Foster.

"I think it will take a few days, it was incredibly upsetting walking around. I think what made it so shocking was that it wasn't that long ago when you think about it.

"It is hard to imagine what it was like for them. I think in time it will be easier to take it all in and understand what I have seen today."

Western Telegraph:

Katie and Tieg agreed that seeing it first-hand brought the experience home in a way that was simply not possible at school, bringing a human element that was missing from the classroom.

"It's completely different to being in the classroom," Martha added. "Our teachers may know everything, but it is not the same as seeing it, it's more personal."

As the darkness descended on the camp, we arrived at the gas chambers. Each one had been destroyed by the retreating Nazis to cover up what they had done.

"Why would they blow up the gas chambers as they left?" Anita asked our group.

"Guilt," was the reply.

We stood beneath the memorial to those that had lost their lives. The students read poems by survivors before saying a prayer or standing in silent contemplation.

Western Telegraph:

As we lay candles on the memorial, I thought about the question I had asked the students. Like those young people I was concerned we could see this again, that we have seen a rise in hate crime and anti-Semitism. But I also saw a glimmer of hope. I saw 140 young people who were going to pass on what they had seen and learned; maybe together they could stand and fight against hate.