The upper and middle school marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day with guest speakers in both divisions.
Middle school students and faculty heard from Holocaust survivor Ms. Irene Zisblatt who shared her harrowing journey of survival. The event, made possible through the organization Holocaust Heroes Worldwide, is an important part of the Middle School’s Holocaust Studies program.
“Holocaust Education is extremely important because it offers students an opportunity to not only think critically as they study and analyze this time in history, but most importantly, it fosters empathy and encourages students to take their own steps to be kinder and to stand up to bullying, discrimination and hatred in all forms,” said Middle School Social Studies Department Chair Mrs. Ferguson.
Irene, the oldest of six children, and her family were forcibly transported to Auschwitz when she was just 13-years-old. Her entire family was murdered in the gas chamber - she was the sole survivor.
After enduring barbaric experiments at the hands of Dr. Josef Mengele, Irene escaped Auschwitz and was subsequently sent to a labor camp and survived a death march. She was liberated on June 7, 1945 by the American army under General Patton.
After liberation, she came to the United States, attended school, married, and raised a family. Ultimately, she said, her story is one of hope. She encouraged students to remember her story, share it, and bear witness.
In 1995, she shared her story with Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation and in 1998 she was featured in the Academy Award winning documentary, The Last Days. Her resume also includes published author.
At the upper school, award-winning filmmaker Paula Apsell led a discussion with the community about her new documentary “Resistance.” Attendees viewed segments from the documentary, which features eye-opening portraits of brave Jewish resisters during the Holocaust.