This program is adaptable to middle and high school students, and is available to adult community groups.
In order to combat hatred and genocide, it is important to understand the devastating effects of racism throughout history. As time passes, the opportunity to learn from and personally engage with Holocaust survivors becomes increasingly rare. Through this unique program, audiences will hear firsthand about the Holocaust and learn timeless lessons about resilience, courage, human dignity and living without hate.
Eyewitness to History can be held at your school, community location, or as part of a visit to the Mizel Museum.
Jack Adler was born in Poland in 1929. He witnessed the decay of humanity while enduring life in two ghettos and the horrors of three concentration camps. His two younger sisters were killed at Auschwitz, his brother and mother died in the Lodz ghetto in Poland, and his father in Dachau. At 16, he was liberated by American soldiers and moved to the U.S. as a war orphan. Jack now speaks all over the United States and internationally to spread his message of living without hate. Though his entire family was murdered by the Nazis, he still has hope for the human race and emphasizes the importance of respecting others. Jack’s take on hatred, racism, bigotry, and misused religious beliefs challenges audiences to analyze their own beliefs and adhere to the principles of the Golden Rule: treat others as we ourselves want to be treated.
Born in 1934 in Poland, Paula and her family were sent to the Vilna ghetto when she was eight years old. Her father escaped to join the famed Bielski partisans with plans to get his family out as well. Before he could, Paula’s mother was taken and killed. Paula’s father then arranged for her and her brother to be smuggled out of the ghetto, and they survived the Holocaust with the Bielski partisans in the Naliboki Forest. Paula immigrated to the U.S. in 1949 and regularly speaks to students and organizations about how she was able to survive. Paula’s hope is that her story will help people become more compassionate and inspire them to reach out to those suffering pain and loss. “There was no rhyme or reason why we should have survived, except to tell the story,” says Paula.
Sara Moses’ earliest memories are of life in the Piotrków ghetto. Because she had no toys, she often used her imagination to create playthings. After Sara’s mother was taken from the ghetto and killed in a Nazi death camp, she herself was sent to a Nazi work camp and later to Bergen-Belsen. Though she contracted scarlet fever, typhus and typhoid, and children all around her were dying, Sara survived. She credits the imagination she cultivated many years earlier in the ghetto for enabling her to mentally escape from the horrors around her. Sara was liberated by British troops in April 1945. Soon after, she was reunited with her father, who also had survived the death camps. Now, Sara tells her story in an attempt to combat what she calls “destructive, deadly silence” – the refusal to speak out for those in need. Her message empowers audiences to fight injustices by making themselves heard.
Osi Sladek was born in Czechoslovakia in 1935. In 1938, Slovakia seceded from Czechoslovakia and became an ally of Nazi Germany. Almost immediately, Jews were subjected to persecution and oppression. As Jews were being rounded up and killed, Osi’s family lived in hiding, posing as gentiles. As the search for Jews intensified, Osi’s family ventured into the mountains and lived there with little food and shelter until they were liberated by the Russian army in 1945. In 1949, his family moved to Israel, and eventually, Osi settled in the United States. Now he speaks to schools and organizations to share his story. Though he lived in constant fear during the Holocaust, he never lost his faith. His message is one of good overcoming evil. As he tells audiences: “Goodness goes much further than evil in life. Never lose faith. Go on and live a good life.”
Born to devout Catholics in 1935 in Germany, Rudi Florian’s parents opposed the Nazis but didn’t dare to do so openly. As a child, Rudi’s teachers were Nazis and his schoolbooks contained Nazi propaganda. When he was 10 years old, he briefly served in the Hitler Youth until his mother came up with an excuse to have him released. When Russian troops invaded Germany, Rudi’s family was displaced to Poland. Eventually, they moved to East Berlin, where Rudi encountered Communist propaganda. Later in life, Rudi made a pledge to “join those who warned that genocide can happen again to any group of people, anywhere…” and served in the United States Air Force for 30 years. Now retired, Rudi educates others about the importance of remembering the Holocaust, the value of human rights and the sanctity of life.