Seventh-graders of the German International School in Boston had a very special history lesson on Wednesday, January 20, 2010. They met with Auschwitz survivors Israel Arbeiter and Edgar Krasa. A week after Miep Gries, the Dutch woman who had helped rescue Anne Frank’s diary, had died, they presented what they had learned about Anne Frank in their history teacher Ms. Niethammer’s project.www.gisbos.org
Edgar Krasa tells what he witnessed in Terezin (or Theresienstadt) and Auschwitz, while school director Christian Nitschke, Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, Israel Arbeiter and Deputy Consul General Claudia Schuett listen.(© Consulate General Boston)Israel Arbeiter then continued to relate his own odyssey through Auschwitz and Stutthof concentration camps and in a “death-march” in Southern Germany. But he also directed these words to the children and their families: “We don’t blame you, the present or future generations. But we must never forget what happened”. He then quoted from an essay by Maurizia Hartert, a then 13 year old former student of the German International School in Boston who won a prize in the 2008 Israel Arbeiter Essay Contest “A Light in the Dark”:
“As a small child, I heard my parents and grandparents talking about the Nazi-terror. I heard of Adolf Hitler and people like Mussolini, Franco and the phenomenon of facism. Being young, they didn’t tell me everything and I didn’t understand anything. At the age of seven, I already knew that the Nazis had prosecuted and killed Jews just because they were Jews. Although I couldn’t imagine what that really meant, growing older and becoming more informed, I realized what it meant. What it still means today. I am quite sure my generation will never ever be able to realize fully the cruelty and the devastation of the Nazi regime. It is just too hard to imagine it, to believe it. There is no doubt about it: it happened, and people are still wondering how and why could it happen at all. This question haunted me to write this essay. Will you be a light in the dark?” touched me and made me think. […] One may ask why I chose Elisabeth von Thadden as my favourite person to write about. This is easy to answer: my parents told me that it is extremely important to keep talking about what happened in Germany during the Nazi era. Everybody, not only Germans, always have to keep in mind what happened. If we keep this alive, it might be possible to prevent it a second time. I personally think that will.”
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For 12-year-old Andrew DiLeo, everything changed on Sept. 3, 2007. The Tenney Grammar School sixth-grader lost his brother Tim that day, in a tragedy where the boy was killed by a heavy school gate that fell on him.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Day which coincides with the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by Allied Forces on January 27, 1945 was observed in a moving ceremony at the German International School in Boston on February 17th, having been postponed previously due to inclement weather.
Christian Nitschke, Head of the German International SchoolBoston(© German Consulate Boston)The Head of the GermanInternational School, Christian Nitschke, expressed his pride and gratitude to host the ceremony, for the first time, at the GermanInternational School. He welcomed the numerous guests, among them Holocaust survivors and their families up until the 4thgeneration, around 200 students from four different Greater Boston area high schools and middle schools, the German Consul General, the Honorary Consul of Poland, as well as representatives from Consulates of Israel, France, Canada, Bulgaria and representatives from different Jewish organizations.
Speakers included Boston City Councilor Michael P. Ross, himself a son of a Holocaust survivor, the Deputy Consul General of Israel to New England, Ronit Nudelman Perl, and Alan Ronkin, the Interim Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC).
Consul General Friedrich Löhr with Holocaust survivor Israel Arbeiter(© German Consulate Boston)German Consul General Friedrich Löhr also addressed the audience and underlined the great importance of a day to remember the horrors of the Holocaust. He stressed the historic responsibility Germany has and always will have to remember the atrocities committed and to prevent anything similar to the Holocaust from happening again. Germans born after the war did not have an inherited guilt, but an inherited responsibility „to ensure that hatred, intolerance, antisemitism and racialism never again be permitted to do their evil work,“ he said. He stressed the firmGerman commitment to Israel’s right of existence, which would always mark German-Jewish relations.
Representatives of the Consulates of Poland, France, Canada and Bulgaria (l-r) at the candle lighting ceremony(© German Consulate Boston)Representatives of theinternational community, Holocaust survivors and their families and students took part in a candle lighting ceremony to commemorate the Holocaust victims.
The 200 students present at the ceremony were especially impressed and visibly moved by the address of IsraelArbeiter, survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp and President of the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Greater Boston. He dedicated his words as a witness of the Nazi horror especially to the the students. He called them “our future leaders”, requesting them to be responsible and tolerant and to not turn their backs when they see injustice happing around them.
A student addressing a question to Holocaust survivor Israel Arbeiter(© German Consulate Boston)
After listening to Elyse Rast, Holocaust Educator, on Auschwitz and to an imposing and personal address by Jennifer E. Smith of the New England chapter of the Anti-Defamation League all students took part in a “bullying prevention program” following the official speeches.
Rick Mann from the New England Holocaust Memorial concluded the ceremony by thanking all the attending guests.Read More »
The Israel Arbeiter Gallery of Understanding recently hosted a well attended reception that marked the kick-off of Greater Boston’s 15th anniversary celebration of the New England Holocaust Memorial located at Faneuil Hall.Read More »
A German officer’s ceremonial sword, passports of an Auschwitz survivor, a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and a rare Norden B-17 bombsight are the first four artifacts that have been donated to the Israel Arbeiter Gallery of Understanding at the Kahillah Schechter Academy in Norwood (Mass.).Read More »
The Israel Arbeiter Gallery of Understanding recently hosted a well attended reception to mark the kickoff of Greater Boston’s 15th anniversary celebration of the New England Holocaust Memorial, located at Faneuil Hall.Read More »
During World War II, while under the command of Adolf Hitler in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands,masses of Jews were captured and taken to concentration camps. There the Jews were tortured and murdered. Escaping from these camps was impossible.Read More »