School Assembly on Holocaust

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!


My uncle is in incredible health – and at the age of 87 is very physically and mentally active. He hikes every week with the Sierra Club, and is very involved with the Plato Club of LA.

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.


My uncle wrote 9 pages of stories to share. We worked the weeks before, prepping how to present and decided a question answer format was best. Wlodek speaks very deliberately and slowly, and so my high pitched and fast voice peppering him with questions seemed to be a good way to present.


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.


My daughter’s school was more formal and had a lot more people there (almost 500!)

It was a family affair with Tusia doing the introduction — she was so impressive speaking publicly to the older girls!

Although Tusia is in 5th grade, and the assembly was for older girls, many of her friends asked for permission to come hear her speak, and listen to the important content.

My mom, me, my father, and my uncle.

The three presentors.


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.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

Blog Home Page

Josie Girl

One Comment

  1. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *