Daniel Goldsmith virtually speaks with students. Photographed by Maggie Grim

Holocaust Survivor Shares Experiences

December 21, 2021

Freshman students had a chance to listen and ask questions to Holocaust survivor, 95-year-old Daniel Goldsmith on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

For most, this is a once-in-a-life-time experience; this was the case for freshman Rowan Sroka.

“It was really cool to be able to hear from a survivor. It’s much more impactful and different than just learning about it in class,”  Sroka said.

Sroka was not the only one who felt this way; history teacher Heather Schoemaker sees how the rest of her students were impacted.

“During our follow-up the next day in class, students were so engaged in the discussion, and I think they took a lot away from this experience,” Schoemaker said.

Goldsmith shared what he had to go through as a young boy to be able to be one of very few to survive, which impressed freshman Brayden Krebs.

“As he kept sharing, I never knew what was gonna happen next, his life was on the line the whole time, and he still found a way to survive,”  Krebs said.

Students even got the chance to be able to speak to Goldsmith and ask him any questions they may have. Many of the kids found this impactful, even the ones who didn’t ask still enjoyed this part of the event.

Students listen to the Holocaust speaker and ask questions. Photograph by Maggie Grim

“I didn’t stand up and ask questions, but I was wondering about some of the same things as some of my classmates,” Sroka said. “It was just overall neat to be able to hear my classmates talk and ask the basic questions that we all have wondered while we’ve been learning about the holocuast for years in school.”

At the end of his presentation, Goldsmith gave the students an overall lesson to always remember.

“The lesson here is that you should be decent to all people,” Goldsmith said. “To become righteous human beings when you see something wrong, say something or do something.”

This is an event that was very heartbreaking and changed history. Goldsmith just wants everyone to do what they can to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.

After very positive feedback and the obvious impact this has had on students, Schoemaker would like to continue to let the students get this experience.

“I have been very fortunate to now have three different Holocaust survivors speak to our students,” Schoemaker said. “I hope this is something I can continue as long as possible, so my students can take away from their stories as much as I do as an educator. I will try my best to continue to have the Holocaust survivors as long as I possibly can. Unfortunately, many of this generation is dying off, and I hope to continue having the story of survival and students understanding this can never happen again.”

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