Holocaust Survivor, Charles Fodor spoke to the Friends School of Minnesota 7th and 8th graders this week. They are studying World War II and the Holocaust in their humanities classes, focusing on the Quaker value of integrity.
Charles Fodor was seven years old when the Germans marched into Budapest, and he shared his experience with grace and humility. Among his recollections, Charles spoke about the courage of his grandmother, about his mother who never returned from a concentration camp, and his father who escaped the German and Russian armies.
Recalling his survival, Charles told students that on the way to a safehouse in Budapest, he and his grandmother were saved by man who stopped them from entering the top floor of an apartment building where Nazi soldiers were waiting to execute Hungarian Jews. This man, who had no relation to Charles and his grandmother, performed a deed so righteous that it allowed Charles and his grandmother to survive and ultimately for Charles to immigrate to the United States in 1956.
Students asked provocative questions about Charles’ family, his faith, and his life since the war. A few of the lessons that Charles imparted to our middle school students were: Never forget. All humans are brothers. Life is precious.
The Friends School of Minnesota humanities program is an integrated social studies and language arts class organized around the four Quaker values that guide Friends School: Peace, Justice, Simplicity and Integrity. Our goal is to help the students think more deeply about topics in social studies while exploring the Quaker values in a meaningful way.
We integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and critical thinking skills into the study of our past and present world. Students reflect, develop, express, and recreate their knowledge about the world around them and foster hope and understanding about how to create a better future.
In the 7/8 Humanities class this year, we are focussing on the Quaker value of Integrity. Our guiding questions for the year are:
- How have societies changed by interaction with other societies?
- How do I keep my values when confronted by counter values?
- How do people decide when and how to take a stand?