Philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
On Tuesday, December 5, grade 8 students and faculty traveled to Nova Southeastern University (NSU) to visit the Craig and Barbara Weiner Holocaust Reflection and Resource Center (HRRC). The HRRC offers a place for students to learn about, and to contemplate, the horrendous acts that result from intolerance and hate
During their visit, students toured the HRRC, which is located in two rooms on the second floor of the Alvin Sherman Library at NSU, and heard the personal testimony of Holocaust survivor Irene Zisblatt. Also, students learned about the significance of the Auschwitz Album and attended a special presentation by a NSU Librarian.
While visiting the two rooms, students were amazed by the historical wall-mounted images, newspapers, and video from 1930’s and 40’s headlining stories about the Holocaust, locations of the major labor and extermination camps, as well as propaganda materials used by the Nazis. Highlighted among the images were the many heroes of the era, who rescued survivors from the Holocaust, including Oskar Schindler, Irene Sendler, and Raoul Wallenberg, among others.
One of the two rooms students visited featured computers with headphones to research and watch thousands of survivor testimonies and films linked to prominent Holocaust museums around the world, including the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., Yad Vashem in Israel, and The Museums at Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau. In addition, students were able to utilize a Holocaust encyclopedia.
One of the highlights of the visit was when students were able to take photos with Survivor, Irene Zisblatt after her testimony.
Upon reflection, students were able to learn many valuable lessons from the day:
Being reminded of the deadliest genocide in history – done by humans to humans.
Honoring the six million Jewish children, women, and men who perished.
Seeing and understanding what results from hate --- and learning to be a better person and thinking more carefully when making daily life choices.
“It was an amazing experience listening to Mrs. Zisblatt share her moving experiences,” stated Middle School Dean of Students Tim Kilpatrick, who helped lead the field trip. “She’s literally living history. Many thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Weiner (grandparents of Matthew Aronsohn-7) for creating the Holocaust Learning And Education Fund. Our students were very impressed.”