Victor Vital wore a pin with the Hebrew word for remember, zakar, as he spoke to our 7th and 8th graders in November.
He told them about World War 2, about Greece, where he is from, and about his experience running from the Nazis.
He was a 10 year-old boy when he and his family left their home to run from the Nazis. They hid in cellars and the woods for two years, depending on the kindness of “righteous gentiles.”
He spoke of horrific things–unimaginable hunger, seeing people die, being infested with lice. He spoke of the kindnesses his family received–someone giving his father a bag of wheat when they were starving, being allowed to hide in people’s cellars.
His message to the children was simple, “never again, never again. This should be with all of us. We must stand up against any genocide, not just against Jews, but against anyone.”
At the end, the children asked questions.
- Have you seen anyone die?
- What do you say to people who don’t believe in the Holocaust?
- Did your view of God or of the Jewish religion change?
- While hiding did you celebrate the Jewish holidays?
- Were you ever close to Nazis?
- Did you know that the Nazis were targeting you?
- After your experience, how do you want the Holocaust to be taught in school?
- Did you know about World War 2 and what was happening before they invaded Greece?
Students were inspired by his talk and some have chosen to study resistance movements for their History Day Project.