I was very honored today to meet Mr. Nathan Taffel after an assembly at the high school for our freshmen who are wrapping up Holocaust units in their English and History classes.
Mr. Taffel, an 81 year old Holocaust survivor, spoke to an auditorium packed with several hundred spellbound 14 and 15 year olds. He told the story of his happy family of seven sisters, two brothers and two loving parents and how they were forced to leave their home in Poland, live in the Jewish ghetto and eventually separated from one another as they were murdered or sent to work at concentration camps. He and his two brothers survived the Holocaust, but his parents and seven sisters did not. His story was full of pain, but not hatred. He was kind enough to let the students ask questions following his presentation. There were many, many questions and the kids would have stayed longer if they could have. Following the assembly they flocked to meet him, hug him, have their picture taken with him and get his autograph. It was obviously a very draining experience for him to share his anguishing account, but I am so grateful that he did. It's important for the story to be told by the people who actually experienced it. We will only have these witnesses living among us for a short while longer.