Friday, January 14, 2011

Auschwitz Survivor speaks at ECS today

What a great opportunity we had today! What has been in the plans for over a month came to fruition today when Mr. Phil Gans, a survivor of the holocaust, spoke to our sixth, seventh and eighth grade students along with some parents and relatives. We learned of Mr. Gans from the holocaust museum in Washington D.C. when our eighth graders traveled there in October and made contact with him. Phil was so gracious that he agreed to come and speak to our students at no cost to the school. We had some technical difficulties, which postponed our start time, but once he began speaking, the room was focused on his every word. He spoke of his family and their life before the war. He gave details of the period of time when he went into hiding to avoid the concentration camps. He explained how his family members were removed from the group only to be gassed and cremated, without him having the opportunity to say goodbye. He continued on with details of his stay at Auschwitz until he was liberated twenty-one months later. His message to the group was to stand up for what is right and don't be a spectator. The students asked some great questions and should be commended for their attention and level of respect for him. As a gift, some ECS students wrote some essays titled "What is a survivor?" and I created a blanket out of it. At the top, it had Survivor, Phillip R. Gans, along with his birthday. The rest of the blanket was covered with these letters that were written by our 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. He was moved by the gesture and thanked us many times. What a great opportunity this was! A special thanks to Phil for making this possible!

No comments: