Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Holocaust survivors share their own stories of survival with Hillel students


April 28, 2017

Helen Greenspun lights a candle at the Yom HaShoah ceremony.

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, is a moment to pause and honor the six million Jews who lost their lives during the Holocaust and reflect on the ways we carry their memory forward in our own lives.

As the late Israeli President Shimon Peres once said at Yad Vashem, "The history of the Holocaust is not just a lesson from the past, it is also a lesson for the future."

In this spirit, Central Florida Hillel recently hosted two Holocaust survivors, Henri Goodheim and Helen Greenspun, to meet and converse with students. Their visit was made possible by The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida.

"Helen was so sweet. You could tell she wanted to educate us. She saw the importance in that moment in sharing her own stories with a younger generation so we never forget. And, I can promise, we won't."-Brian Schickman

"Stories from the Holocaust are all unique, but this also made me see that at the end of the day, we still want to find love, have a family, and universal values don't change with time. Henri is full of life and loved to laugh and share his stories."-Rachel Huss

Henri Goodheim lights a candle at the Yom HaShoah ceremony.

"Their stories stay with you. At the camps, Helen only got a cup of coffee in the morning and then a piece of bread at dinner. Hearing that puts it in perspective. This was memorable, transforming, and, really, life-changing."-Matt Horn

"You hear stories and study it school, but it's different hearing a story and then seeing an artifact-and holding it in your hands. That exact thing that someone had to wear or deal with and it was something that shows you everything you've heard."-Shawn Burns

Hillel is grateful to Henri and Helen for sharing their time and themselves with our Hillel students.

As Tamara Mann Tweel, director of strategic development for Hillel's office of innovation, said, "It is the bonds between our elders and our students that will sustain the Jewish people."

"By connecting the young to the old, our community ignites our most powerful engine, that of Jewish memory and Jewish care-taking."


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