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Kittay Tenants Share their Experience of the Holocaust with Bronx Fifth Graders
A group of fifth grade girls from PS 75 elementary school in the South Bronx came to Jewish Home Lifecare’s Kittay House Senior Apartments to talk with Marion Sacher and Pearl Brown, Kittay House tenants who are holocaust survivors.
Their visit was covered in The New York Times and will be covered by Jewish Week.
The students’ visit was an example of the kind of intergenerational connections that Kittay House and Jewish Home Lifecare incorporate into a broad range of programs and services. Mentoring, cultural activities, on-line tutoring and other initiatives enrich the lives both of elders and youth.
The girls are studying the Holocaust in school and their teacher, quoted in The New York Times article says, “they had so many questions that I really could not answer… These ladies are living history. It’s something you’re not going to get out of textbooks.”
But the girl’s visit proved to be about a lot more than learning history – it was about human connection.
The girls were astonished to realize that Ms Sacher and Ms Brown were just girls themselves when the Nazis came to power. They asked questions like “Didn’t your parents do anything to help you?”
The girls were stunned into silence when Ms Sacher showed them her tattoo from Auschwitz.
One of the girls said, “It was kinda touching. When we complain about things being tough, they really aren’t tough. We don’t really know what tough is in comparison to Pearl and Marion.”
Ms Sacher related a story from when she was 13 and living in Berlin. All Jewish people had been forced to wear a yellow star pinned to their clothing. She was flying a kite her mother had given her for her 13th birthday. A group of German boys called her a Jew and ripped apart her kite.
From The New York Times story:
“When the time came to return to school, the girls reached over and impulsively hugged the frail women. Several affectionately called out ‘grandma.’ They promised to return with a kite for Ms. Sacher, who still loves flying. Then they were gone.”
“Ms. Brown said she was glad for a chance to tell her story to a generation that never had to live through the Holocaust.”
“I’m removed from it now, but I never forget it,” she said. “I might forget what I ate yesterday, but this I remember, always.”