On the final day of Suffield’s 2021 course Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Behavior, a 95-year-old Holocaust Survivor named Johnny Jablon shared his extraordinary story with the class. Johnny was born in Poland and endured the horrors of the Holocaust—from a ghetto to a forced labor camp to Auschwitz to a Death March to Mauthausen, and after liberation in DP camps. He shared his incredible story and answered many student questions. Some parents of students in the class also attended Johnny’s talk. In responding to a question about essential lessons from studying the Holocaust, Johnny replied with great enthusiasm, “don’t hate! It’s a poison to hate! There is no such thing as hate! The key is education.” To reinforce this point he shared a story about a Death March. In one country some students threw rocks and harassed the victims as they marched, yet in another they threw bread and blankets. He emphasized that the key difference was education. Juana Bourgeois ’21 commented “it was incredible to hear from a survivor who was able to give us a firsthand account of everything we studied this year. It really deepened our understanding of the past and this tragic period.” It was an amazing end to an emotionally and intellectually challenging course, and it concluded with Suffield donating money in Johnny’s honor to the Montreal Holocaust Museum.
More info on Johnny can be found here.