Holocaust Trip Leaves Students Dumb-Founded

Students spent only a couple of hours at the Drew University Holocaust event in April, but the impact was enough to stay with them for a lifetime.

There were 29 DMAE students on the field trip with history teacher Stephen Hanson. Some were from his former Holocaust elective class members, others just wanted to learn more about the trials and tribulations of those who survived the ordeal. None left disappointed with the special presentation held on April 10, 2013, at the Baldwin Gymnasium on the Drew University campus.

“Drew University dedicates one week in April annually to remember the Holocaust, putting together an exhibit and presentation for high schoolers taking a Holocaust course at their own school,” Mr. Hanson said. “Each year, we’re always selected.”

The presentation shown at Drew University focused solely on significant people of that event, particularly a group of young men called, “The Boys of Terezin.” What made the presentation most effective was the appearance of three surviving boys, now elderly men.

“These boys were rounded up by the Nazis in a Czechoslovakian slum called ‘Terezin,’” Mr. Hanson explained. “If they had tried to escape, they would have been killed. While in captivity, they crafted a newspaper with art and literature to try and keep spirits high in this environment,” he said.

Students were left dumbfounded by the story of the Holocaust survivor Sidney Taussig. It was truly something they had never experienced before.

“It was an eye opening experience to hear a first-hand account from a survivor,” freshman Giannina Garcia said. “This trip taught me just how important hope and friendship were during the Holocaust.”

Freshman Gabby Drazek, who also went on the trip, was just as enthusiastic.

“I’ve watched several documentaries about survivors of the Holocaust, but actually meeting them and hearing them explain their experiences made it so surreal,” Gabby said. “Overall, the trip was such a great experience!”

Mr. Hanson hopes to teach the Holocaust elective again next year and was glad many freshmen were interested in this presentation.

“I’m positive that this trip rekindled their interest in the Holocaust, and encouraged them to continue to research it more,” Mr. Hanson said, “It certainly was an eye opener for the students to learn more about this topic from those who were there.”