UNION, NJ - Arthur L. Johnson students recently viewed a documentary about the life of a woman forced to be the translator of Dr. Mengele the 'Angel of Death' at Auschwitz concentration camp. Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant was a Holocaust survivor and is the subject of the documentary Nana screened at Kean University.
As part of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies course at ALJ, students in Frank Stebbins' class watched the movie and learned about Michalowski-Dymant's Holocaust story which included surviving Ravensbruck, Malchow and Auschwitz.
Michalowski-Dymant’s granddaughter, Serena Dykman, produced the documentary. Upon conclusion of the film, ALJ student Alexis Reed thanked Dykman saying, “Your grandmother’s story brought to light much of the material we discuss in class. Reading The Sunflower and seeing your grandmother’s story really shows that there is no way to imagine the situations people were placed in. Thank you for sharing her story.”
Stebbins spoke about the value of the experience, understanding family history and the class which is offered as a dual credit class with Kean University. “To have students attend the screening over their break shows how important topics related to the Holocaust are. Hopefully, students also saw the value of studying the legacy of one’s own family. All of our pasts help make up who we are today, and there is much history to be learned within our own families as well as textbooks.”