Eighth grade students had the extraordinary opportunity to meet Holocaust survivor, Paul Galan, who made a special appearance at our school this month. Mr. Galan shared his experience as a child in Czechoslovakia, which fell under Nazi control when he was 6 years old. He told stories of being forced to wear the yellow Star of David and the constant bullying and death threats he received from his fellow students. Eventually, as Nazi anti-Semitic laws began to be applied to occupied German territories, he was placed under strict curfew and his father's grain business was given over to a Christian Czech.
Eventually his family was rounded up and sent to an internment camp, where they were held for over a year before being set free. Uncomfortable staying in their hometown, they fled to the countryside, hopping from village to village as they were continuously outed to the Nazis by the locals. By a series of unbelievable coincidences and the goodwill of two high ranking Nazi officers he was able to make it over the mountains into Soviet liberated territory, where he made his way to safety.
His message to the students was to always be accepting and tolerant of one another and to stand up to discrimination wherever they see it. His talk fit in with the students’ study of the Holocaust, which focused on our students' roles as upstanders with an obligation to protect those around them.
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