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Holocaust survivor shares story

Fulton City School District sixth-graders recently learned an important message from guest speaker Marion Blumenthal Lazan: they are the last generation to hear first-hand accounts of the effects of the Holocaust.
 
A survivor of the horror herself, Lazan detailed events of her childhood from her happy family memories to living in horrendous conditions in concentration camps after the Nazis tortured people who were Jewish. She painted a picture of sadness, loneliness and troubles, but said it all was necessary for the students to “understand our story and lessons learned.”
 
“This works because I was pretty much their age at the time,” she said, about connecting to her audience.
 
Lazan said that in the 1930s, life for Jews in Germany became tough. They were marked with the letter “J” for Jew on their passports, experienced the Night of Broken Glass where Nazis smashed Jewish-owned storefronts and countless families fled to Holland where they thought they were on their way to a better life. The students fell silent and Lazan provided more details of her journey: in May of 1940, one month before her family’s departure date to freedom in America, Germany invaded Holland and they were trapped. Sent to a concentration camp, she will never forget the look of barbed wire or terror she felt from the guard’s German shepherd dogs, which she still fears to this day.
 
A wagon she thought was full of firewood was actually full of dead bodies as the German soldiers killed Jews or they died from the horrible conditions. It was during this time of terror, her wild imagination got her through each day. She played a game called four perfect pebbles, in which she tasked herself with finding four perfect pebbles, representative of each member of her family, which would lead to her family’s survival.
 
Lazan said she lives with a grateful heart, and encouraged all sixth-graders to do the same, so she and they can live the fullest life possible. She credited the liberation in the spring of 1945 and her spring of 1948 arrival in the United States of America as the new beginning of a wonderful life. Lazan became married and had a family, and has traveled the world sharing her story, including her published book, “Four Perfect Pebbles.”
 
Despite the adversity she faced, she never gave up and told the FCSD students to follow suit.

“Each of us must do things to prevent hatred,” she said. “People need three things: love, respect and tolerance.”
 
Several students took the opportunity to ask her questions about life in concentration camps, her family and life after war, but many more offered hugs and handshakes as they thanked her for sharing her touching story.
 
She also later spoke with students who attend G. Ray Bodley High School.
 
Lazan’s visits was made possible by the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation’s Arts-in-Education program.




 

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FULTON CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Brian Pulvino, Superintendent
129 Curtis Street
Fulton, New York 13069
Phone: (315) 593-5500


www.fultoncsd.org


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