Marion Blumenthal Lazan, a Holocaust survivor, shared a message of hope, courage, faith and compassion at Sharon Springs Central School last Tuesday in a near-capacity presentation to students from not only SSCS, but Cobleskill-Richmondville and Duanesburg Central Schools.
Ms. Lazan spoke for nearly two hours, describing her family’s story.
Following Hitler’s rise to power, the Blumemthal family—father, mother, Marion, and her brother, Albert—were trapped in Nazi Germany.
They managed to eventually get to Holland, but soon after, that country, too, was occupied by the Nazis.
For the next six-and-a-half years, the Blumenthals were forced to live in refugee, transit, and prison camps that included Westerbork in Holland, and the notorious Bergen-Belsen in Germany, where Anne Frank died.
Though they all survived the camps, Ms. Lazan’s father, Walter, succumbed to typhus just after liberation.
It took three more years of struggle and waiting before the rest of the family obtained the necessary papers and boarded a ship for the United States.
The event was planned and organized by SSCS Superintendent Pat Green and high school English teacher Jennifer Field.
“We’ve read about this history…We’ve Googled it on the internet. “We’ve even watched documentaries on the History channel,” Ms. Field said in introducing Ms. Lazan.
“But there are very few opportunities in our lives to actually sit in the same room with someone who has survived and truly lived moments of history…”
Ms. Lazan repeatedly reminded the students of the importance of treating all people with respect, dignity and kindness; specifically, she urged them to leverage their social media to spread this message.
Ms. Lazan warned against the dangers of stereotyping and prejudice and encouraged the audience to continue sharing the realities of the Holocaust so events like it are never repeated.