A powerful experience.
I went to see a Holocaust survivor speak in the castle today. Her name is Judy Meisel and her story is one of the most incredible stories I’ve ever heard. After watching a documentary on her, I learned that she and her mother and sister were taken from their home in Lithuania and sent to a concentration camp where she watched as friends and family were beaten, tortured, and killed. She watched as the Nazis took a woman’s new born baby and chucked it against the concrete, killing it instantly. She watched them tear out her mothers’ gold teeth, leaving her with a bloody face, not long before Judy’s own hair was to be ripped from her scalp until there was nothing left. And she watched as her mother entered the gas chamber, and was never to be seen again. She and her sister fled the camp, and after disguising as Catholics and working for the enemy, they ended up safely in Denmark where they were taken in by a loving family and nursed back to health. Judy was 16 at the time and weighed 47 pounds. The doctors were unsure if her hair would grow back, or if her stomach would stretch back out again, or if she would survive at all. But with the help of this family and the entire country of Denmark, she did.
After the film was over, Judy, who is now 82 and much more frail than the film had depicted, entered from the back of the room and we all gave her a standing ovation. I, as well as a good portion of the room, was in tears. She stood at the front of the room answering questions and sharing her heart-wrenching and inspiring experiences.
When she was finished, I went up to her in tears and thanked her for her inspiring stories. I started telling her about my Mom-Mom who had survived the Holocaust as well. I was struggling to get the words out through my tears, but she just took my hands while I spoke, listened with open ears and teary eyes, and gave me a big hug. It was so powerful. I am so thankful to have heard her story and to have shared the story of someone who was so close to me.
“And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities are irrelevant. Whenever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must -at that moment- become the center of the universe.”—Elie Wiesel in his 1986 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
A Holocaust Survivor Came to My School Today...
And his name was Rabbi Goldstein. He’s from Poland and he is 91 years old. He lost almost all his family due to the Holocaust. He was utterly alone afterwards. He told us that he wasn’t here to tell us a sad story, but here to teach the young to cherish life.
He told us to take away these five things from his story of destruction, sadness and evil:
1. “Racism is stupid, its infantile”, “Respect every human, everyone deserves dignity”
2. “Love your parents, they are the best friends you’ll ever have.”
3. “Love your siblings, even though they are annoying.”
4. “Have a passion for good not evil; be kind.”
5. ”Cherish your friends; they are a second family.”
6. “Be appreciative of what you have.”
“Live by these things” he said.
Idk about you but those are some pretty damn good things to live by. This man was so wise and sweet. But you would think a man whose family was all killed by the Holocaust would be filled with hate and bitterness. Well there was NONE of that in this man. He was full of love. He said he dedicated his life to tell his story to the youth because the youth will shape the world’s future and that they needed to know these things. This man was amazing. I hope I grow up to be like him.
i spent the afternoon listening to the testimony of a holocaust survivor, a man who survived life in a ghetto, in auschwitz, on a death march across germany, to finally emigrate to the uk in the late 1940s after the war was over.
he was so honest, so energetic, so funny and warm and genuine and so full of hope and love for the world, even after everything he’s been through. he had such a wonderful sense of humour and was such a mischief, but the love he clearly had for sharing his story with young people was so so inspiring.
his message was simple. ‘don’t hate. never let hate in your heart.’