Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27 is Holocaust Remembrance Day. This year marks the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and students in faculty member Beth Krasemann’s Holocaust, Genocide, & Human Behavior class took the time to honor and individualize some of the victims who did not survive this tragedy.

The students’ assignment was to go to The World Holocaust Remembrance Center’s website, created by Yad Vashem, match with a Holocaust victim, and then research and share information about the person. Below are just a few of the victims the senior class presented, each with their own harrowing and often incomplete story:

Libbie Foster ’22 spoke about Aron Fiszman and his family. Aron and his wife, Ester, were confined to the Lublin ghetto in Poland before it is believed they were transferred to Auschwitz. But their four children managed to survive, either in other countries, with forged papers, or by eluding capture. 

Campbell White ’22 shared the story of Alizabet Stiglitz, who was born in Czechoslovakia in 1908 and died during the Holocaust. Exactly what happened is unknown, but it is possible that she was forced into the Theresienstadt concentration camp, or even killed on the spot upon admission of being Jewish. 

Calla Woodworth ’22 was matched with a young child, Yoel Wajc, who lived in Krakow, Poland, which had a population that was roughly 25% Jewish. It is most likely that Yoel and his family were put into the Krakow ghetto and either died there or were forced into Auschwitz when it opened and did not survive the concentration camp.

Tyler Wolkoff ’23 told the class about Abraham Nachum from Salonika, Greece. There were two ghettos in Salonika, where the Jewish population was roughly 50,000 people. Many victims were required to do forced labor in the ghettos, including using tombstones from Jewish cemeteries as ghetto building materials. At the end of the war less than 2,000 Jews were left in Salonika, and Abraham was not one of them. 

Going a step further, students also honored several surviving victims of the Holocaust in subsequent classes. Just a handful of the survivors’ stories shared include those about Vahram Morookian, Emil Jacobovitz, Lydia Lebavic, Selma Engel, Willy Herbst, Ruth Marcuse Hagedorn, and Dina Gottliebova-Babbitt. Tyler Wolkoff was even able to bring everything closer to home by presenting the story of his maternal great-grandparents, Ethel and Joel Carnel, who were liberated from Auschwitz.