Burlingame High School, Burlingame, CA March 29, 2011

by George J Elbaum

Teacher Michelle Riley’s semester-long class on “Facing History” was well-prepared for my talk on the Holocaust as viewed through my eyes as a child, and the students were alert and attentive.  Since this was my first experience with a 50-minute class time constraint, I shortened my presentation but not sufficiently, and the 5+ minutes remaining for Q&A was too short to develop the momentum usually needed to get an active flow of student questions.  Based on my previous talks, the first few questions produce more and more thoughtful questions and student involvement, and I truly regret not allowing adequate time for this.  After all, the primary reason for having this weblog is to showcase student questions as these mirror the views and concerns of their generation about the Holocaust.   The event was arranged by Jack Weinstein of Facing History and Ourselves.

PS: The wonderful comments that follow are examples of letters received subsequently from teacher Michelle Riley’s students, comments that encourage me to continue giving these talks.

  • “Hearing your story makes me appreciate and honor life.  Thank you so much”
  • “A pain in my chest appears when I think of what you and your mother have been through; the pain brings me to tears.”
  • “I have four younger siblings, and with your story in mind I cannot even imagine how horrible it must be to have them and the rest of my family taken away or lost.”
  • “I thank you for coming to speak.  I wish you the best for educating more people of all ages about the world you came from, and also to continue to inspire others.”

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