San Mateo County Library, San Mateo, CA – May 5, 2021 via video

by George J Elbaum

San Mateo County Library’s activities and educational services have been necessarily curtailed by the Covid pandemic.  To compensate for this, Julie Smith, Librarian at the Half Moon Bay branch of SMCL, took the initiative and organized a presentation about the Holocaust for seven schools in the county, including Half Moon Bay High School, Cunha Intermediate School, Pescadero High School, Woodland Middle School, Woodside High School, Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School, and Ocean Shore School.  Approximately 300 students participated, some of these having studied the rise of Hitler, the Nuremberg Laws, Kristallnacht, The Diary of Ann Frank, the Ghettos, Concentration Camps, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and Elie Wiesel’s Night.

My presentation was arranged by Penny Savryn, Education & Marketing Manager of JFCS Holocaust Center.

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Methuen High School, Methuen, MA – May 4, 2021 via video

by George J Elbaum

Methuen High School (MHS) is a public secondary school serving grades 9-12.  It has an enrollment of 1950, of which 46% is minority and 47% from low-income families.  The Holocaust is taught at MHS as part of English Department studies by teacher Jackie Rubino, who organized my presentation at MHS and uses educational materials from Facing History and Ourselves and other sources..  This was my 2nd visit to MHS, andapproximately 80 of MHS’s 9th grade students were on today’s presentation via Zoom. As last year, the students have already studied much of the Holocaust and Human Behavior book from Facing History, “Schindler’s List,” selections from the The World Must Know, Night by Elie Wiesel, plus   supplemental materials

In the 10 years of presentations I have noticed that the quality of students’ questions during the Q&A much depends on the quality of student preparation, and thus the quality of teaching.  Enthusiastic teachers such as Jackie Rubino result in enthusiastic students, and that resulted in our Q&A lasting another half hours after my almost an hour presentation.  As last year, I was again pleasantly surprised by the quality of the students’ questions, and some of their most thoughtful ones about my feelings, hopes, and concerns during the Holocaust had been asked of me only once or twice in the almost 300 talks I have given to date.  I’ve long felt that the Q&A is often the most important part of my talks because it represents our 2-way communication, and I was very pleased and moved by today’s session.

In addition to Jackie Rubino, attending the presentation (by Zoom) were MHS teachers and staff, including Dr. Lisa Golobski-Twomey, MHS English department head, Kara Brooks, English teacher, and Jason Smith, science teacher. My participation was arranged by Jeff Smith of Facing History.

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AIMS College Prep Middle School, Oakland, CA – April 30, 2021 via video

by George J Elbaum

American Indian Public Charter School (AIPCS), is a K-8 charter school with predominantly low-income, minority students and current enrollment of 794 that has had an unusual history since its founding in 1996.  Its current incarnation, however, is definitely an admirable success, earning a rating of 9 (out of 10) from Great Schools based on its test scores, equity overview, and year-to-year academic progress.  According to Great Schools, its demographics are 47% Asian, 34% Black, 11% Hispanic, 5% White and 3% all other, with 76% students from low-income families, yet its students score a proficiency rating in math of 73% vs. 40% state average and 65% in English vs. 51% state average, especially impressive since 33% of AIPCS are English learners.  Furthermore, its advanced STEM courses participation in Algebra I is an impressive 60% vs. 25% state average and pass rate is 80% vs. 79% state average.  Also unusual are the statistics of its teaching staff: with 19 students/teacher (vs. 22 state average), its teachers with 3 years of more experience are only 46% of total vs. 91% state average, and full-time certified teachers are 76% of total vs. 98% state average.  This means that AIPCS has a much higher percentage of young teachers, and in my 250 talks to date I’ve noticed repeatedly how responsive are students to young teachers

My presentation was to the AIMS College Prep Middle School (6-8) to the same 160 students, now in 8th grade, to whom I spoke 16 months ago, December 2019,  when they were in 7th grade English and History class of teacher Jennifer Ko, who organized the event both times.  Jennifer Ko impressed me in my December 2019 visit with her handling of the large, youthful group with a friendly yet authoritative manner.  This time my “visit” was online via Zoom, so no direct contact, but she impressed me by something completely different: because of the difficulties which her students faced during the past 14 months of the pandemic, she purposely asked me to present my story to the same group as before, but now to highlight the resistance that I had faced and the resilience that allowed me to overcome those hardships without being emotionally or psychologically crushed by these.  I appreciated and felt the importance of that request.  

 In preparing for my talk the students watched films and read about the experiences of others who experienced the Holocaust. They also learned about the significance of an eyewitness to history and the importance of eye witnesses being heard and listened to about their experiences.

In addition to Ms. Ko, also attending the presentation were the teachers from across the 7th grade, 8th grade and English Language Department: Ms. Hairston, Ms. Grams, Ms. Readye, Ms. Spencer, Mr. Lee, and Dr. Jay. As well as the co-Head of School, Ms. Glass.

Penny Savryn, Education and Marketing Manager of JFCS Holocaust Center, arranged the presentation. 

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College Park High School, Pleasant Hill, CA – April 21, 2021 via video

by George J Elbaum

College Park High School has a current enrollment of 2036 students of which 56% are minority and 26% are economically disadvantaged.  Despite these demographics, it is far above California state average of college and career readiness, such as student test scores (English 74% vs. 51% CA average and Math 48% vs. 40% CA average) and 97% graduation rate.  It is therefore rated 9/10 in college readiness and test scores by GreatSchools.org.

This presentation to College Park 10th-12th grade students was again organized by World History teacher Lauren Weaver, as she had done last year and in 2019.  Her students have studied WWII and the Holocaust, and were therefore aware of governmental persecution in Germany in the 1930s, including targeted boycotts, the Nuremberg Laws, planned stages of identification and separation in Ghettos, acts of violence such as Kiristallnacht, and eventual removal of Jews to concentration and death camps.   My presentation once again was via Zoom because of continuing Covid-19 restrictions, so my main contact with the students was via their typed-in questions but unfortunately no real-time feedback.  I missed that feedback and look forward to returning to College Park and Lauren Weaver’s class in person next year.

Arrangements for my talk at College Park were made again by Penny Savryn, Education & Marketing Manager of the JFCS Holocaust Center.

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Otay Ranch High School, Chula Vista, CA – April 19, 2021 via video

by George J Elbaum

Otay Ranch High School is a 4-year high school with somewhat unusual demographics: its 2372 student body is comprised of 59% Hispanic, 18% Filipino, 8% two or more races, 6% White, 5% Black, and 4% Asian.  Nevertheless, it has Great Schools Rating of 8/10 overall, College Readiness rating of 9/10, Equity 7/10, and Test Scores 8/10.  Its 4-year high school graduation rate is 97% vs. California state avg of 85%, and the percentage of graduates who meet UC/CSU entrance requirements is 65% vs CA state avg of 51%, and low-income (34% of students) are not far behind with 59% vs CA State avg is only 43%.  This is a remarkable academic performance.

This presentation was also organized by World History Teacher Robert Tilburg specifically for his other 10th grade class that missed my April 14th presentation.  As the other class, they also studied WW2 and included events prior to 1939 that discriminated against the Jewish population of Germany such as the Nuremberg race laws, Kristallnacht etc.  The students then studied the Holocaust for 3 weeks, including the flood of refugees to surrounding countries and the response of those countries, the establishments of Jewish ghettos and then the “Final Solution”.  Subsequent to my talk the students will analyze primary source text and images from the Holocaust and will also work on a research presentation in one of two areas: Jewish resistance to the Holocaust, or comparison of the Holocaust to other events of genocide in the world. 

The credit for introducing Robert Tilburg and me, and “incubating” this introduction into a successful presentation goes to Kael Sagheer, Education Coordinator of the Institute for Holocaust Education (IHE) of Omaha, who recently organized my presentation at IHE’s Week of Understanding.

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The Achieve Program, San Francisco, CA – April 18, 2021

by George J Elbaum

The Achieve Program is a year-round, four-year high school scholarship and academic enrichment program for underserved students from low-income families.  By providing tuition grants plus quality educational and extensive individual support, Achieve increases the options and opportunities for its students, all of whom are selected based on demonstrated academic excellence and high motivation to change and improve their lives.

Currently, achieve serves 94 students and has a staff of six, including three educators, all dedicated to supporting and mentoring the students.  Although Achieve’s tuition grants enable students to attend private schools in the San Francisco Bay area, the most important aspect of the program is Achieve’s active support to students throughout their four years of high school.  Mentoring, tutoring, cultural excursions, summer internships, community service programs, extensive college counseling, and parent support are some of the services provided to ensure that Achieve students are informed, educated, service-minded, and well-prepared to succeed in college and beyond.  Achieve thus opens a world of possibilities for its students.

One of Achieve’s students, Mia, is also a participant in the JFCS Holocaust Center’s The Next Chapter program.  She attended my talk to The Next Chapter last month and, through the JFCS Holocaust Center, she invited me to speak to her community at Achieve.  Mia wrote, “I wanted to be able to share this wonderful experience with my other Achieve mates. I wanted to share (his) inspiring stories with all of them, to help them reflect on their own lives just like I have.”  Starting with Mia’s invitation, Achieve’s Sarah Jiménez and Penny Savryn, the Center’s Education & Marketing Manager, organized my talk.

Notes from Students

Two weeks after my talk to The Achieve Program students I received via email a Kudoboard with “thank you” notes from the students.  Typically, when receiving notes or letters from students, my wife Mimi and I read these together and we highlight and excerpt those statements that especially resonate with us.  However, the Kudoboard format made it difficult to do this, resulting in a delay, but Penny Savryn graciously transposed these notes into text, and Mimi and I excerpted the key statements which are listed below.  Thank you very much for your notes, your thoughts, and your “thank you’s”.

  • One of the highlights from your speech that really stood out to me was when you said that the first time you spoke at the Boston Holocaust Memorial, you realized your story “had value.” Your story has made a huge impact on students like me, providing us with more knowledge on what happened and how it affected those who were victims of this unjust, horrific time in history. I want to thank you for allowing us to see your vulnerable side and telling us your story!
  • Your story gives me motivation to push through my struggles knowing how courageous others can be like yourself all those years ago, and even now by sharing your story of survival.
  • I like how you kept emphasizing the golden rule to treat others the way you would want to be treated all throughout your presentation. Once again thank you for your unforgettable presentation filled with amazing advice.
  • Your mother’s courage and resilience especially stood out to me because it must have been extremely terrifying having to constantly hide and outsmart the Nazi soldiers.
  • Your comment about living in the moment stood out to me because often we find ourselves anxious about the future.
  • It was a very sad and vulnerable story but very inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing it.
  • What stood out to me was that even as a child you were strong enough to live through something like this and share your story with others as an adult.
  • I will cherish your advice and call out injustice when I witness it.
  • Hearing that you struggled to take the words out of your mouth at first was something that made me understand how hard and how courageous someone must be in order to go on a podium and speak of their tragedy. I will move forward in life and speak out those words that are hard to say the first time around. As long as I get the people to hear my voice and understand my words, I will speak out as many times as necessary.
  • Knowing that your forgiveness was even extended to the people that have caused you and your family so much grief was very admirable, and it has taught me to become more forgiving towards others.
  • The number one thing that stuck with me is the Golden rule because this is something I truly believe in and abide by in my life.
  •  I appreciated how you talked about recent anti-Semitism incidents like the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting because this reminded me that injustices are still present in our society, and we must keep working hard to improve as a society.
  • One thing that stood out to me was the idea that blaming others would only lead to more hatred.
  • After hearing what you went through and knowing that you were still able to become successful despite the odds, encourages me to work harder.
  • I will never truly know the life you lived, but you helped me understand your story in such an impactful way. Thank you for having the courage to tell us your story because now we will learn to help others in need.
  • Something I took away was your journey in accepting the terrible things that have happened to you and your family, and your courage to share your powerful story. This sent an important message to me which is that everyone has a valuable story to share.
  • Thank you for sharing the courageousness of your mother and the compassion shown by the Polish families that took you in.
  • Something that amazes me was your statement that accusing others just encourages more hate. In the future, I will make it a point to speak up when I see injustice, and I’ll always uphold the golden rule.
  • Schools don’t talk about all that occurred during the Holocaust; I am very grateful that people like you take time to educate generations about events of the past. If we don’t teach future generations about the past it is doomed to repeat itself.
  • I really needed to hear someone tell me the importance of speaking up no matter what. I feel that there have definitely been areas of my life in which I could have spoken up.
  • I just returned from a school retreat and I thought a lot about the words you said and how you refused to back down in the face of adversity. It made me reflect on how I want to live the rest of my life.
  • Although I would like to believe I follow the golden rule all the time, that really isn’t the case and I need to work on that and stay true to my word.
  • I especially appreciate how you drew parallels of bigotry from the Holocaust to events happening today, such as discrimination towards Asian Americans and immigrants.
  • Your story is truly inspiring and encourages us to speak out about injustices happening in our community. Although speaking out can be a bit frightening at times, your words really impacted me and I feel much more confident in using my voice.
  • Your story was very inspiring, especially when you talked about how hatred and racism thrive in the shadows and we ourselves should speak out whenever we see something that is unjust.
  • I really appreciate what you said to us, and can honestly say that this has been one of the most impactful talks that I have ever heard. After hearing your talk, I decided to speak out about my problems instead of keeping them in.
  • Your presentation emphasized how important it is to reshare stories so that yours, and millions of other survivors’ experiences will not be forgotten. As police brutality and hate crimes keep rising, I will ensure to spread awareness to people through social media.
  • I truly felt that your story was an eye-opening experience and I found it very motivating.  I could tell how much passion you have for teaching others what it was like to survive a tragic event like this. I was able to sense the emotion you had about this topic even through the computer screen and it really touched me. 
  • I know this took a lot of courage to tell people you’ve never seen before about something so personal, I just wanted to tell you that I deeply appreciated the story of your life. It taught me some things I never knew, and how to be a better person and be more grateful because there is always someone that is less fortunate than you or the next. 
  • Your stories gave me a new perspective on life and the world as a whole. Additionally, you inspired me to make change and help others within my own community. I really valued your talk.
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Otay Ranch High School, Chula Vista, CA – April 14, 2021 via video

by George J Elbaum

Otay Ranch High School is a 4-year high school with somewhat unusual demographics: its 2372 student body is comprised of 59% Hispanic, 18% Filipino, 8% two or more races, 6% White, 5% Black, and 4% Asian.  Nevertheless, it has Great Schools Rating of 8/10 overall, College Readiness rating of 9/10, Equity 7/10, and Test Scores 8/10.  Its 4-year high school graduation rate is 97% vs. California state avg of 85%, and the percentage of graduates who meet UC/CSU entrance requirements is 65% vs CA state avg of 51%, and low-income (34% of students) are not far behind with 59% vs CA State avg is only 43%.  This is a remarkable academic performance.

My presentation was organized by World History Teacher Robert Tilburg whose 10th grade class studied WW2 and included events prior to 1939 that discriminated against the Jewish population of Germany such as the Nuremberg race laws, Kristallnacht etc.  The students then studied the Holocaust for 3 weeks, including the flood of refugees to surrounding countries and the response of those countries, the establishments of Jewish ghettos and then the “Final Solution”.  Subsequent to my talk the students will analyze primary source text and images from the Holocaust and will also work on a research presentation in one of two areas: Jewish resistance to the Holocaust, or comparison of the Holocaust to other events of genocide in the world.  In addition to Robert Tilburg’s 10th graders my presentation was also attended by teachers Patti Heredia and Allie Sanders with their classes.

The credit for introducing Robert Tilburg and me, and “incubating” this introduction into a successful presentation goes to Kael Sagheer, Education Coordinator of the Institute for Holocaust Education (IHE) of Omaha, who recently organized my presentation at IHE’s Week of Understanding.

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Jewish Family and Children’s Services, San Francisco, CA – April 8, 2021 Yom HaShoah via video

by George J Elbaum
My very first talk was on Yom HaShoah 11 years ago, April 10, 2010, organized by MIT Hillel at the Boston Holocaust Memorial. It was a painful experience, but immediately afterwards I was encouraged by the audience to “Keep doing this! Keep speaking so that your story is not forgotten.”, and today, 11 years later, this is my 293rd talk. It was organized by Penny Savryn, Education & Marketing Manager of the JFCS Holocaust Center with assistance from Shayna Dollinger and Aliza Mayer, both Pell University Fellows at the JFCS Holocaust Center, as part of the Center’s Yom HaShoah Days of Commemoration (see program below). The audience of this Zoom presentation included over 200 community participants from the Bay Area, New York, Canada, Oregon, Marbury Middle School in Alabama, as well as all of the middle-schoolers from The Brandeis School of San Francisco.

Letters from Students

Several few weeks after my talk at JFCS-organized event on Yom HaShoah I received via JFCS a large envelope with many thank-you cards from the students at The Brandeis School of San Francisco.   Last night, together with my wife Mimi we read all of them and excerpted those statements that especially resonated with us.  These excerpts are listed below.  Thank you very much for your cards, your thoughts, and your “thank you’s”.

  • My grandpa is also from Warsaw, Poland, and I believe that your speech is a sign for me to talk to him and hear his story. Thank you for being so humble and brave, it is deeply appreciated.
  • My grandpa is also a Holocaust survivor and he has only shared his story once, but I hope that if I tell him about your many speeches to schools, he will be inspired to do the same.
  • I specifically remember your story about waiting at the train station for your father who you didn’t remember. I personally have a good relationship with my dad and couldn’t imagine a world without him.
  • I hope you have a good rest of your day and week and month and life!
  • One thing I will take away is how important is sacrificing for your family when they need it most. Stay positive!
  • Thanks to you I have learned a new perspective on the Holocaust. I hope you keep telling your story and keep inspiring people.
  • Thank you so much for telling us your story. We are impressed how you chose to not listen to the guidance counsellor and to follow your dreams.  We are inspired to do the same and are grateful for your time.…… Class of 2020


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California High School, San Ramon, CA – March 29 & 30, 2021 (2 groups) via video

by George J Elbaum

California High School (CalHigh), San Ramon, CA, has an enrollment of 2777 students in grades 9 thru 12 and a truly excellent academic record: while attaining a 4-year graduation rate of 99% vs. state average of 85%, it did so while receiving Great Schools ratings of 10 for college readiness and 9 for test scores.  Its ACT college readiness rate is 88% vs. 55% state average, reflecting student proficiency of 77% in English vs. 55% state average and 61% in math vs. 40% state average – an enviable record of both, high student quantity and high quality.  Its demographics are White 44%,  Asian 31%, Hispanic 12%, two or more races 7%,  Filipino 4%. and Black 2%.  Such performance has been maintained over many years, such that CalHigh was ranked No. 250 in the top 500 US high schools by Newsweek in 2011, placing it within the top 1.5% of the over 18,000 high schools in the United States.

My 2 presentations (March 29 and March 30) were to approximately 140 10th grade students (and some of their family members) who have been studying World History between the two World Wars.  The students’ preparations included reading Art Spiegelman’s  Maus, watching The Lady in Number 6, and analyzing art of David Olere, a Polish-born French painter best known for his explicit drawings and paintings based on his experiences as a Jewish Sonderkommando inmate at Auschwitz.  This unusual use of Holocaust art is described by CalHigh teacher Regina Lyon as follows: ‘We always look at art in conjunction with literature in the course, and in this unit we talk about different ways of processing grief and trauma, and Olere’s art is our jumping off point for that conversation.”  This Holocaust unit is followed by one which addresses the question: “How can we empower ourselves and others to make positive social change”

The 2 events were organized by Regina Lyon and Hannah Cheng, who teach Global Studies English & History, and supported by Tucker Farrar, and the Cal High PTSA and Academic Boosters.  My participation and other arrangements were organized by Penny Savryn, Education & Marketing Manager of the JFCS Holocaust Center

1st group – March 29, 2021
2nd group – March 30, 2021
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The Bay School, San Francisco, CA – March 25, 2021 PM via video

by George J Elbaum

Founded in 2004, The Bay School (Bay) is an independent, coeducational college preparatory high school in the Presidio of San Francisco.  With almost 400 students in grades 9 through 12, Bay balances challenging academics and innovative thinking with a mindful approach to learning and life – its goal is to see students unlock their individual and collective potential so they begin to realize their roles in a dynamic world.   Bay believes that a broad range of perspectives and experiences play a crucial role in achieving its educational mission, thus it intentionally recruits students and teachers from diverse cultural, racial, economic and geographic backgrounds.

Emphasizing depth of content, Bay’s curriculum focuses on problem solving, promotes critical thinking and encourages students to connect academic study with their extracurricular lives. Bay’s 9th and 10th grade courses build a broad foundation of basic skills, focusing on the relationships among traditional academic disciplines. Students’ interests and talents increasingly drive the academic program in 11th and 12th grade.

This was my 4th visit (albeit virtual due to Covid-19) to The Bay School, and it was again organized by Humanities teacher Hannah Wagner.  The online audience was approximately 90-100 students in 10th-grade Humanities class who have recently studied the aftermath of WWI, the Treaty of Versailles, and Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s.  Shortly after my talk all 10th graders will read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Finally, all students will undertake a WWII research project, some of which will involve learning about the Holocaust in depth through primary source analysis.  

My talk was arranged by Penny Savryn, Education & Marketing Manager, JFCS Holocaust Center.

Letters from Students

A month after my virtual visit to The Bay School I received a large envelope with over four dozen short notes and long letters from the students, one even decorated with many small hearts and one with a very cute drawing (see below).  However, a very busy schedule kept me from reading these for another month, when together with my wife Mimi we read them all and excerpted those statements that truly resonated with us.  These excerpts are listed below.  Thank you very much for your letters, your thoughts, and your “thank you’s” – they make me feel that perhaps I’m making a difference.

  • I found your idea of having faith in people, but a lack of faith in humanity itself fascinating.  I often find it difficult to see the world in those shades of gray, rather than in black-and-white we’re so often taught by parents and administrations alike, and I strongly admire your ability to do so.
  • While I recognize that antisemitism and racism toward others are still hideously present and persistent in our society, I believe hearing and sharing stories like yours is one step towards genuine progress.  Thank you for your time, words, and courage.
  • I can’t imagine how much courage it takes to talk about your experience in a time like that.
  • Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us and inspiring us to lead better, kinder lives.
  • Your experience with the airplane and getting into MIT, as well as well as your advice about not being affected by other people’s doubts in you, was my favorite part and I’m still thinking about it.
  • When you told the story about the Polish kid who didn’t want to come to your talk because of antisemitic beliefs and later not only came but also brought your book and how that kid was able to change his thoughts of hatred genuinely brought a tear to my eye.  I wish you the best because you truly are doing god’s work.
  • Your story and how you believe that the world should be led with love and compassion, and not hate and judgment really stood out to me.  I will live my life with that ideology in mind.
  • I really enjoyed the inspiring story you gave us because it goes to show there is hope even in darkness. 
  • My family is originally from Germany and left during the war.  I know my great grandfather had similar experience to yours, but never talked about it.  Hearing your story made me feel very connected to my family and grateful they are still here today.
  • Your story made me think a lot about the way the world works and how history likes to repeat itself.
  • My grandfather is also a Holocaust survivor, and his story is similar to yours in the regard that it is only by luck that he is still alive.
  • It’s change-makers like you who pave the way for other survivors of traumatizing events to tell their stories and speak up against what’s wrong.
  • By telling your story you are helping us to understand how important it is to stand up against hatred and thus prevent as much racism and genocide as possible.
  • To be able to go through something so traumatizing and catastrophic and still be willing to use your story as a way to teach is truly admirable
  • I find it very inspiring how you continue to educate people on why hatred should be avoided.  You gave me the rare perspective of someone who has been in life-threatening danger because of hate.
  • 4 years ago in October 2018 you visited my middle school and I still have the notes from that day stored in my computer.  I sat at the back of the classroom, tired after staying up that night.  After you told your story I immediately sat up in my chair and started to think about how different I would be in the 1940s.  As soon as I saw the cover of your book last Thursday I excitedly texted my friend.  Thank you so much for inspiring me.
  • Your talk was mesmerizing to hear of your bravery & hardships throughout the Holocaust & the years following.  I specifically enjoyed getting to hear your mother’s story.  You speak of her with such love & admiration; the world was lucky to have her.
  • Your story was really inspiring, especially when you talked about living with love and kindness and not hatred.
  • I am astonished that such an atrocity ever happened and extremely grateful to have heard your story.
  • I am so glad I got to hear you speak again.  In middle school I heard you speak in person in 2018.  I remember a lot of your speech the first time but not every detail, and I am so glad I got to hear it a second time.  Your story is incredible and I am so thankful that you are willing to share it with people.
  • Thank you for inspiring my class and me.  I won’t forget your story.
  • I am at a loss for words when it comes to describing your story.  It was inspiring, saddening, and truly made me thing about my own life.
  • I am so glad that you have made the decision to share your experience with not only us but with so many others.  Thank you again.
  • It is important to know what happened, because without an understanding of what the Holocaust was, people won’t be able to see similar things happen before they are fully in effect.
  • To get up after falling and keep going is one of the hardest things anyone can do.  The fact that you have done this so many times throughout your life is truly inspiring.
  • You taught me to never give up even if the struggle is hard, and that standing up for what you believe in is the most important thing that you can do to make a difference.
  • It seems unbelievable to me that something so horrible could have happened and yet you still had the courage to move on from your trauma and start afresh.
  • During your talk you asked us if we would take in a persecuted minority out of the kindness of our hearts and hide them from the authorities, much like the families who took Jewish people into their care during the Holocaust.  At the time I was unsure what my answer was.  After listening to your story more I came to the conclusion that I would help people even if it put my own life in danger.  Hearing how grateful you were and seeing what person you grew up to be you inspired me and made me choose to help people if given the chance.
  • We’ve never walked in your shoes so we don’t know exactly what you may feel retelling your story but thank you for being so willing to tell us.
  • I’ve researched the Holocaust before (I attended a Jewish day school) but hearing about it in so much depth from a survivor was so much different.
  • I thank you for without your talk I would not have had a very important conversation with my family about our history.
  • Your story was very inspiring and allowed me to recognize the privilege I have today.
  • Your story gave me hope and taught me to believe in myself even if no one else does.
  • For the first time in a very long time I felt completely engaged with something, which was a really fantastic feeling.  It really put into perspective the things that I care about and spend time on.
  • I read about the Holocaust, first-hand accounts and primary sources even, but none were as vivid and striking to hear as yours.  You are an engaging storyteller, and your talk left me with a lot to think about as a non-Jewish person.
  • My mother and younger brother listened too, and were stunned by the detail and story itself.
  • I wish I could write more eloquently, but I hope you know (I’m actually sure you do) how many people you have educated and made to rethink their place in life.
  • I am so thankful for your talk along with the fact that you got to survive.
  • Hearing how much luck you had means that you were meant to still be here today to educate schools around the world about the Holocaust.
  • I now perceive the world so differently.  Thank you for not letting your voice be silenced.
  • I know that I’m just one of the high schoolers you got to talk to, but I am so proud of you.  Thank you for rising above everything terrible and helping others understand.  Forever grateful

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