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Speaking About a Holococaust Survivor to Schools by Zoom

On Friday, May 15, I had the opportunity to speak by Zoom to the Jackson Hole Middle School about my mother’s experience as a Holocaust survivor. The story begins with her life in Vienna as a carefree teenager, but quickly moves in order to the:

  1. Anschluss when my mother was forced to scrub the streets
  2. Kirstallnacht
  3. Her family’s escape to France
  4. My grandfather’s attempt to recover money sent out of Austria
  5. Her family’s forced move to Belguim
  6. Her attempt to escape German bombing
  7. How she escaped transfer to a concentration camp twice
  8. My mother hiding for two years
  9. What happened after the war ended

Topics included are the introduction of forced wearing of the Jewish star on clothing, Auschwitz, and the rise of Hitler. In addition, I make it relevant to current themes by bringing in issues of bullying, survival and perseverance, and of course now, the virus.

I augment the story with a power point presentation that includes maps and pictures. Afterwards, I leave time for plenty of questions.

I have presented my mother’s story in person to student groups ranging from Elementary School to High School  but tailor it to the audience (see how I got started doing this in 2016). Always I did it in person. Never did I think the day would come that I would do it virtually. But it did.

And, it was a success! The Principal of Jackson Hole Middle School, Matthew Hoelscherr said:

[T]hat was great.  Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to our students.  I liked the format and I think it held their attention even better than in person.  When they’re at home and muted, they can fidget and fiddle and roll around yet still pay attention.  Plus, the comments they were making showed their deep interest in your mother’s story and the historical timeline of the Holocaust.  Nice job! 

Such a success that I am now looking for more opportunities to speak to other school groups. Holocaust survivors are almost all gone. Their children are now aging as well. But the story of the Holocaust is important – not only to remind young people of what happened but to warn them to be vigilant to prevent it from happening again to any minority. Therefore, while there still exists people who can speak with knowledge and emotion of what happened that resource  should be tapped for the benefit of mankind.

If you would like me to speak to any group by Zoom (see short sample of the audio below), student or adult, about my mother’s Holocaust experience please contact me. I do not charge a fee.

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