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Holocaust Rememberence Day

June 3, 2014
By BRIANA BONFIGLIO

Sophomore students gathered in the auditorium on the morning of Wednesday, April 2 to experience Seaford High School’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day.  To enhance the sophomore students’ English and Global History curriculums rooted in world issues, the program serves to teach more in depth about the horrific genocide that ensued during World War II.  The assembly is marked by an oral presentation from Holocaust survivor, Irving Roth, who returns each year to tell his story.

Holocaust Remembrance Day was an educational experience for the sophomore students in joint effort with the topics they covered in their Global history and English classes.  While history teachers taught students the facts about World War II and the Holocaust, English teachers taught Elie Wiesel’s novel, Night.  Wiesel is another Holocaust survivor whose novel tells of the tragedies he faced in the death camps when he was young.
The day began with a performance from the Honors Chorale.  They performed three songs, Ani Ma’ Amin, Written in Pencil in a Sealed Railway Car, and Hiney Mah Tov.  Their performance was both infused with Hebrew culture and demonstrative of the music that came out of such a world tragedy, setting the mood for the rest of the assembly. 

Mr. Roth, an 84-year old Holocaust survivor, was then welcomed to the floor to address the students.  He spoke of his childhood in Czechoslovakia and how quickly his and his family’s lives changed under Hitler’s invasion.  He went on to speak about being separated from his family, the death camps, and the miraculous day in which he was saved by the American soldiers.  Mr. Roth’s story is not only informative, but intriguing from beginning to end.  The details he included truly helped to unveil the severe discrimination the Jewish people faced during the Holocaust.  While still in Czechoslovakia, Mr. Roth’s entire world changed around him as a young boy.  He was told he couldn’t play on the soccer field with his friends anymore, couldn’t speak to the girl he walked home from school with everyday, and eventually was not allowed to attend school at all.  His father was betrayed by his best friend and shut out of his own business, all because he was Jewish.
In addition, Mr. Roth showed a recent video in which he revisited the death camps with a group of college students.  His entire presentation was deeply moving and eye-opening.  Mr. Roth’s overall message to the students was to speak out against prejudice and evil and to pass his story down to their children so that atrocities like this can never happen again.
After Mr. Roth spoke, students were able to purchase a signed copy of his book, Bondi’s Brother.  At that time, students were also offered bagels and refreshments in the lobby.  They returned to the auditorium to watch the 2004 movie “Hotel Rwanda” about the genocide that took place in Rwanda about twenty years ago.  The showing of this movie helped to relate historical events and further uncover the horrors of genocide in the world. 

Overall, Holocaust Remembrance Day was an enlightening experience for students.  Seaford’s program for the sophomores plays a role in one of Mr. Roths’s main purposes in speaking to students, preventing such unthinkable tragedies against humanity from reoccurring in the future.