Holocaust Survivors Share Story of Bravery and Resilience

In Judaism, there is a saying that "he who saves one life, saves the whole world." Holocaust survivors Bernard Schanzer, M.D. and Henry Schanzer, J.D. are living proof of those powerful words. The twin brothers were invited by the Jewish Culture Club (JCC) to speak to the upper school community in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, January 27.

Through poignant and often humorous storytelling, the brothers spoke about their harrowing and tragic experience of how as young children they survived Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Their survival was due to the courage of their mother and the help of two women who risked their own lives to save theirs.

According to JCC co-Presidents Dani Saril ’21 and Jake Sloane ’21, Secretary Lexi Wachen ’22, and Head of Anti-Semitism Awareness Maddie Marlowe ’23, the aim of presenting the Schanzers’ story was to remember the horrific genocide of six million Jewish people at the hands of Nazis and the importance of standing up to hate.

“The number of survivors of the Holocaust is not increasing in numbers. Unfortunately, it is the opposite,” said Saril. “We must recognize the beautiful stories the survivors have to share before it's too late while accepting there is still more we, as students and leaders, can do to educate ourselves and those around us.”

“To hear any story of someone who lived through the Holocaust is a privilege and honor. The Schanzers’ story in particular was amazing,” said Eric Shear, equity and inclusion coordinator and upper school science teacher.

“I'm thrilled that I was able to take part in such a meaningful event and to have helped members of our school community to feel more visible and heard,” added Saril.

In closing, Dr. Schanzer explained to the students, “You are our hope and our ally that this never happens again.”

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