Giving Back

Hanover Park Genocide Studies Classes Visit Holocaust Survivors


EAST HANOVER, N.J.- As the school year is coming to an end and June approaches, one thing that is for sure is that the classes are only participating in more activities, service projects, and taking on bigger and better tasks when it comes to the History Department. Last month Genocide Studies teacher, Jamie Boszko was featured for her project that began collecting buttons to represent the 1.5 million children who lost their lives in the holocaust.  Boszko's classes visited survivors of the Holocaust and had a once in a lifetime experience with this amazing individuals. Bozko commented that “This was a rewarding experience to see my students interact with the survivors.”

The day started at Hanover park as the busses departed, bound for the Jewish Federation in Whippany New Jersey. As the students filed into the conference they were joined by several other schools and students eager for the days events. Next, the students were separated into groups. Group 1 heard the story of one survivor and how the kindness of strangers in Poland saved his mother, sister, and himself during the Second World War. The second group met another survivor who was in a Labor camp at a very young age and was finally liberated at the end of the war. The third group had the unique experience of touring the Federation museum, which shines light on survivors, Righteous Among the Nations, some of the camps, the way of life, and artifacts from the era. The tour guides or docents, were survivors themselves and second generation survivors.

After all the groups visited all of the stations, a students were moved into a large room where they were split up with students from other schools. The total was about 30 tables and at each, a holocaust survivor. The survivors spent time and had lunch with the students. Students were encouraged to ask questions and listen to the stories of how each of the survivors made it out. Boszko said “It is an experience that will not be available forever. It definitely provided the students a different perspective on how they apply such knowledge to the real world.”  Many of the survivors encouraged the message of love and acceptance for all and also how they were now witnesses to the stories of survivors and how they are encouraged to go out into the world and spread the messages and stories they heard so the world never finds itself in such a state again.

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In total, the students had a once in a lifetime chance to apply their classroom knowledge into the real world with people who actually experienced the events.

The award winning Genocide studies Gallery Walk will be Tuesday June 5th in the 400 building at Hanvover Park High School, open to the public from 3-6pm.

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