Our Experience Meeting a Holocaust Survivor

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We have all learned about the Holocaust. Anyone, student or teacher, at Holderness can define the Holocaust as a mass genocide of Jewish people during World War Two. We know about concentration camps and gas chambers, and some of us can likely spew a plethora of statistics on how many people died. This is the Holocaust as we have learned it.

 

A few months ago, the Holderness community had the opportunity to complicate our prior knowledge of the Holocaust. We met someone who lived it. Marion Blumenthal Lazan spent just over an hour telling us her story. It was a story laced with pain and resilience. Marion made the Holocaust personal for us. By sharing her story, she brought us into the horrors she faced as a young girl.

 

She told us how when her family was in the concentration camp, they were so hungry that her mother stole a potato for them to eat. When they were trying to cook it in their tiny bed, a soldier came in. Marion and her mother frantically tried to hide what they were doing. In the process, the boiling water spilled on Marion’s leg. Even though she was just a young girl, Marion understood that if she made any noise they would be in an unthinkable amount of trouble. Despite the amount of pain she was in, she remained silent.

 

Marion Blumenthal Lazan is also the author of the autobiography Four Perfect Pebbles. The book’s title is representative of one of Marion’s memories from the concentration camps. She would spend days collecting perfectly rounded pebbles. She would try to collect four at a time telling herself that each one was representative of a member of her family and when she got all four it meant that each member of her family would survive the terrors they were facing.

 

Hearing deeply personal stories of the Holocaust from Marion gave us something to connect to. It disconnected the Holocaust from our history classes. At the end of her talk, Marion told us that she is a hugger and invited us to come down and give her a hug. The line was almost out the door. More than half the school went down to hug this wonderful woman who has endured the impossible. It was an incredible moment to be part of.