World-Renowned Holocaust Survivor Shares Her Story and Lessons of Dignity and Respect with OHS History Students
Oxford, Mississippi (August 29, 2017) — “Look for the similarities and respect the differences,” said Holocaust survivor and world-renowned author Marion Blumenthal Lazan, as she shared her moving story and messages of inspiration with over 750 area students on Monday, August 28, 2017, at the Gertrude Ford Center on the University of Mississippi campus.
Both Oxford High School history students along with Ingomar High School students were engaged by Lazan, a survivor of one of the worst tragedies in human history, the Holocaust.
During her lecture, she shared how six million Jewish people — that’s twice the number of people who currently live in Mississippi — were murdered during the Holocaust of World War II: those six million killed also represented one-third of the Jewish population that existed
pre-World War II.
Lazan challenged students to be true to themselves, not to mindlessly follow a leader without thinking ahead, and to search their hearts and minds as to what the consequences might be should they take that path.
Camille White, a sophomore at Oxford High School, said that she was moved by Lazan’s story and how her struggles and ability to overcome the struggles is such an inspiration to all.
“For many years, we have heard about the Holocaust,”said White, “but now we have had the opportunity to actually meet a Holocaust survivor who journeyed from New York to Oxford, Mississippi, to tell her story of how she survived one of the worst events of human history. As I was sitting there listening to Marion’s story, I couldn’t help but think, ‘How on Earth could a little nine-year-old girl survive such a horrific event?’”
White said that she took away from Lazan’s presentation this message: humankind should never lose hope and always hold on to faith.
She added, “Marion reiterated over and over the importance of learning from the past, because if we do not learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it!”
Another message Lazan — who is also the author of an award-winning book Four Perfect Pebbles — stressed to students and teachers in attendance is to not follow just anyone’s lead without finding out what his or her true intentions are. As a Holocaust survivor, Lazan travels the world to speak to students about the importance of peace and treating people with dignity and respect. Local high school history students were able to attend the event at the Ford Center, thanks to Dr. Jason Solinger and The Jewish Federation of Oxford, who both helped plan and organize the learning opportunity and event.
Oxford High School History teacher Daniel Parrish said that the event was important to participate in for the students because he said that students need to immerse themselves in primary resources.
“No event has ever shaped human history like the Holocaust, and there is no better primary source than a first-hand account,” said Parrish. “Marion’s story of hope and survival is an inspiration to all people, and I’m extremely grateful that our students were able to listen to her words of wisdom. As Lazan pointed out, our young people are the last generation that will hear from Holocaust survivors firsthand, and I challenge our students to be the torch to carry the message of peace and solidarity forward.”