Students learn about courage in Holocaust presentation

On Thursday, May 3, Norfolk Collegiate’s fifth-grade students learned about survival and courage in a presentation from members of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. The presentation, titled “What We Carry,” shared the story of Kitty Saks, a Norfolk resident who survived the Holocaust thanks to the courage of her family, friends and strangers.

Saks was a little girl during World War II. Her family fled Germany and settled in Brussels, Belgium, where they lived in hiding until the end of the war. Saks was placed into a convent thanks to the persistence and courage of her teacher, Mrs. Henrard, where she survived by “denying” her Jewish heritage and taking on the persona of a French child.

The fifth-grade class is currently studying World War II, and as part of that historical context they also learn about the Holocaust. Students were shown a documentary of Saks and were able to see replicas of the belongings that she referenced throughout the presentation, including her star, luggage, baby doll and other items, to gain a better understanding of the time, culture and her story.

“The films are our way of teaching you about the Holocaust so that we don’t forget it,” said UJFT volunteer and presenter Alicia London Friedman. “Many people helped to save her life…one person can make a difference standing up for another child, your friend or someone who may not be your friend.”

It is her story that will live on through the UJFT’s multimedia presentation.

“One person decided to do something and not look away,” Tim Duvall, fifth-grade teacher, told students. “Take the courage and take action.”

After looking at the replicas, students were able to ask the presenters questions about Saks, as well as other Holocaust survivors.

“Being a survivor means having the odds stacked against you and you survive,” said Saks in the video. “Don’t forget the Holocaust and the lessons that can be learned from it.”

To read more about Saks journey, please click here.