A Firsthand Account of the Holocaust for Connolly Fifth-Graders

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It was a history lesson Connolly School fifth-graders will not soon forget, when six Holocaust survivors from Gerwin Jewish Fay J. Lindner Residences visited their school to share their harrowing stories of survival and heartbreaking loss on March 14.

You could hear a pin drop as students listened to Rose Ashkenazy, Sally Birnbaum, Ruth deBeer, Herman Gancz, Tina Kamin and Ruth Meador tell their stories of the Holocaust. From the family members they lost, to the concentration camps they survived and the education they sorely missed because they were no longer allowed to attend school, all of it, etched into their memories as if it happened yesterday.     

The students learned of the survivors in a Newsday article, where they were featured before International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Teachers Maureen Hellman, Valerie Scicchitano and Susan Stanco had been covering the Holocaust in class and decided to have students write to the survivors to express their feelings about what they read. The fifth-graders penned heartfelt letters and created hand-drawn pictures for the survivors. The survivors were so touched by the letters, they decided to come visit the students, to tell their stories and answer questions.  

Each of the six survivors was given a wooden trinket box adorned with a butterfly that included a poem from the students. The children were visibly moved by what they heard and told their special guests they would never forget.  

To view media coverage of the special meeting, click on the following links: 
FOX 5: http://www.fox5ny.com/news/holocaust-survivors-stories-schoolchildren
NBC: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Holocaust-Survivors-Meet-With-Children-on-Long-Island_New-York-507170182.html
CBS: https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/03/14/lessons-from-the-holocaust-brought-to-life-as-survivors-visit-long-island-fifth-graders/
FIOS: http://fios1news.com/news/local-holocaust-survivors-teach-glen-cove-students-special-history-lesson/?fbclid=IwAR1kKuQfuEEleYJuOvcWRnw2Ifs54zJFB_TohepwLCCZCvW-fkm39fufLzU