For the first time in my uncle’s life, he recounted his Holocaust stories publicly this past week. Every year for the past 24 years at my daughter’s school, there is an Upper School assembly for Holocaust Survivors to share their stories. After a discussion with a faculty member of the school on my father’s family’s history, a call was placed in early March, inviting my uncle to speak to the school. Even with such short notice, Dr. Wlodek Proskurowski (my uncle), at the age of 87, decided it was time for him to speak so flew from Los Angeles (where he lives) to NYC. And what a memorable event, it was!
We decided that if Wlodek was speaking at my daughter’s school (in an official, formal assembly), that he could also speak at my son’s school. The more children that are fortunate to hear a real life Holocaust Survivor speak — the better for everyone. Thankfully, my son’s school was extremely agreeable and flexible and put together time for us to come speak to the 7-9th graders in an intimate and special afternoon.
We used my son’s school as a dress rehearsal. The presentation went great — and the boys asked incredible questions at the end. There were 100 boys in attendance and felt very intimate and cozy.
I am extremely grateful to the many friends who attended the talk, the family who flew in (my parents), the schools for putting together these special occasions, and most of all, my uncle, who shared incredible and moving stories of his life as a child hiding in plain sight as a Jew in Poland during the Holocaust. Thank you, thank you, thank you. As more and more survivors no longer live, it is crucial that the younger generations, hear the history so that it never repeats again.
I thank you and your family for sharing the story of the Holocaust with the students. My grandmother came to the United States in the 1920s by herself. Her siblings and their families stayed in Poland, and they were murdered during the war for being Jews. One sister-in-law survived the camps. Eventually she visited us. She did speak about her experience, and she told us that her baby was tossed in the air and shot. There were more horrors, but I will stop there.
I debated whether to tell her story, but as awful as it is to tell, it must be told.
I turn 75 next month, and I am concerned that the truth of the Holocaust will fade from the world’s memory. Anti-semitic acts are once again on the rise.
I truly appreciate the effort made by your family.