BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Governor Livingston High School Holocaust and Genocide class were recently engrossed and fascinated by the story of Fran Malkin, Holocaust survivor. Malkin was born in Sokal, near Lvov, Poland in 1938.
In 1939, The Soviet Union occupied her town and her family’s properties were confiscated and strangers occupied their home. In the Spring 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. When the Germans arrived in Sokal, they required all Jewish able-bodied men between the ages of 16-60 to report to the town square for labor. 400 Jewish men, including her father, were taken to a brick factory and shot. The rest of the family was forced into the local ghetto. In 1942, the Ghetto system was still loose enough that the family was able to go into hiding. Malkin and her family were among sixteen people hidden by Francisca Halamajowa for over two years. Over that time thirteen people hid in the hayloft over the pigsty while another three in a hole underneath the kitchen
“Being able to have the opportunity and privilege of not only talking to a survivor but a person who is from a piece of history is something I will always be grateful for,” said senior Arianna DaSilva. “I walked away from the conversation and story so empowered and in awe. This was definitely such a great experience hearing about her story from such a horrific time.”
The Holocaust and Genocide course at GL focuses on the themes of moral responsibility, social injustice, and human rights. The class has also had the opportunity to attend different programs related to the curriculum. A highlight was a presentation by a former neo Nazi, Arno Michaelis. He spoke about being a neo-Nazi, how he moved past a life after hate, and about how it is imperative to speak up against all forms of hatred.
The GLHS Holocaust and Genocide class is aligned with the greater goals of the District and GLHS Diversity Committees that promote the celebration of diversity and Inclusion.