Yesterday, in honour of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Grade Sixes were fortunate enough to hear from Kathy Kacer, Carol Matas, and Eric Walters, three very talented authors who have dedicated their careers to educating others about the Holocaust through books and making sure that the tragic history is not forgotten. January 27th is a very sad day, but it is also a very important day. The importance of Holocaust Remembrance Day is to not only remember the horrible things that happened, but to make sure that they never happen again.
We are so inspired by these guest speakers for many different reasons. They all have put in so much work and effort to make sure that people’s stories from World War II will always be remembered. Kathy Kacer’s parents lived during the Holocaust and were both nearly killed. Instead of being angry about the situation, Kathy took this opportunity to help herself and millions of others reflect and understand what happened. Kathy’s first book called The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser is the story of Kathy’s mother (Gabi) hiding in a small dresser when her house was invaded by Nazis.
Carol Matas wrote one of the first books about the Holocaust for children called Daniel’s Story. We were very lucky to have Carol read us a chapter from her most recent book, A Struggle for Hope. She adds so much detail to her stories, and it really ripped at our heartstrings to hear the devastating and unfair treatment towards Jewish people.
Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer worked together to write Broken Strings, a book about a girl and boy who are co-stars in the school play Fiddler on the Roof. The main character Shirli is looking through her grandfather’s attic for props when she finds an old violin with broken strings and a Star of David on it. Shirli’s grandfather was in shock to see his old violin; Shirli didn’t even know he played violin! The grandfather then explained that he was part of the orchestra at the concentration camp. We thought that an orchestra sounded pretty nice, until we heard about what the Nazis’ actual intentions were when they created the orchestras.
After hearing about this book, we all wanted to hear what happened next right away! Not only did we learn so much about the characters in the book, but we also learned so much about history and how awful concentration camps were.
We are so grateful to have had this experience hearing from such inspiring people who are doing such incredible things for people today, from the past, and for many people in the future.
By Olivia Sherman, 6E