By Paige Cornicelli
The college hosted Talk Among Survivors on Wednesday, April 20th. The event was hosted by Steve Klipstien and Jill Santiago, and Holocaust survivors Ruth Minsky Sender, Mordechai Miller, Annie Bleiberg and Hannah Robinson.
The Holocaust was the systematic murder of millions of Jews. German Jews and Jews from the surrounding countries were persecuted because of that simple fact, they were Jews. Adolf Hitler and his Schutzstaffel, SS for short, systematically, horribly and unjustly murdered over 6 million men women and children because of their religion.
Ruth Minsky Sender told us her story in a way that made us all want to listen. She told us of how her siblings fled from Poland to Russia, with her, her mom, and her younger siblings forced to stay. She was eventually sent to Auschwitz and then separated from her family. She survived, married, and had a family, eventually moving to the United States where she became a published author.
Mordechai Miller survived the Holocaust by hiding. He spent his time hiding in the woods, eventually fleeing. His family would run from place to place. Trying to avoid incitement of the SS and life in the concentration camps. He now is a public speaker on his time running, educating people on his time trying to survive.
Annie Bleiberg had an interesting story. Her and her family were removed from their homes and shoved into cattle cars to be transported to a camp. Her and her father managed to escape after wedging open a latch on top of the car. She was second in line to go, first of the females when a man sent her first. “He was scared, afraid or something. He did not want to jump. But I must follow my father.” She was eventually captured after leaving the home of a Polish Family she was hiding out at and sent to a camp. She now has a family and is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Hannah Robinson was separated from her family when she was younger, before the Holocaust started. She and her brother were sent to Britain to escape the persecution of the Jewish Children.
The event itself turned out to be a success. There was a high school visiting, along with students from the school and visitors from outside of the Suffolk County Community College circle. There were ten volunteers including student Kevin Perlow.
“The event had a great turnout. There was a lot of people and the stories were really interesting.” Said Perlow. He continued on to explain his feelings about the event. “The stories were moving, it was a way for us to learn their stories on a personal level.”
At the end of the event, there was a few minutes for questions and one question was asked that got a large reaction. The question was asking “Do any of you have resentment towards Hitler and his men or can you forgive him for what he did to you and your families?”
Ruth Minsky was firm in her answer. “I will never forgive Hitler. He tried to wipe us out and he knew what he was doing. He knew.” There was an agreement across the board, from all of the survivors, both professors and the entire audience.
Mordechai Miller had the last word of the event with advice to the students and people visiting “Don’t hate. Hate is a disease. Hate kills you and it kills other people.”
This event is offered every spring semester, at the end of the semester. It is held common hour, Wednesday from 11:00-12:15 pm in the Shea Theater.