STUDENTS AT SACHSENHAUSEN CONCENTRATION CAMP MEMORIAL - ORANIENBURG, GERMANY
STUDENTS FROM VARIOUS FLORIDA MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOLS DISCUSSING BUCHENWALD AND ASSOCIATED IMAGES WITH JAN MALECHA FROM WEIMAR, GERMANY
HERE'S WHAT OUR STUDENTS & TEACHERS HAVE TO SAY :
Mr. Weiner : Thank you again for your generous support of Holocaust education in our schools. Your message about using historical scenarios to teach our students life lessons truly resonated with me. I became a social studies teacher to help create a more informed -- and especially a more tolerant -- citizenry. I believe your program does just that.
Andrew Gasdick - Teacher- AP World History - Lake Nona High - Orlando
"I was amazed by the level of interest and participation the students exhibited in this educational program being presented by Jan Malecha. He presents an immensely important message of mutual respect, tolerance and the courage to stand up and do the right thing when one is aware of bad things taking place. We are proud to support and fully endorse the work being done by the Holocaust Learning and Education Fund through Craig and Barbara Weiner."
Juergen Borsch- Consul General - Miami- for the Federal Republic of Germany
Thank you for coming to Mrs. Hoffman's class on Tuesday in order to present your lecture on the Holocaust. I appreciate it very much because I view it as important to discuss since we must learn not to repeat the same mistakes in history again.
Dylan Levenson, Spanish River High School, Boca Raton, Fl.
"I was very impressed with Jan Malecha's interesting Holocaust Seminar. I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to have him educate my students on the Holocaust and the Buchenwald concentration camp. The students thoroughly enjoyed his seminar and learned a lot not just about the Holocaust itself but how they can make a difference in their lives each day to prevent bullying and social injustice from occurring in front of them. Thank you to Mr. And Mrs. Weiner for making this great opportunity possible. "
Sandy Leal-Garcia, teacher at Coral Gables High School
It was very interesting for Jan Malencha to come to our own school and teach us about the Holocaust. I did not expect this to happen at all. I did not know that a tour guide from the notorious concentration camp Buchenwald would come to teach in person. The presentation he gave was phenomenal. He taught us a lot about the topic. He told us that the perpetrators of the Holocaust, had choices. And those people decided to help the SS and the Nazis. This is a very important lesson that we learned.
Alejandro Pollier- Grade 8 - George Washington Carver Middle School, Miami
The weight I felt when Jan placed the spoon on my hands, the same spoon that fed hundreds in a time of death. I was profoundly moved by the echoing cries Jan’s message gave of starvation, exploitation and cold blooded murder. Like a horrible burden placed on my shoulders the comb, the ring, Jan’s words gave life to these artifacts only to reveal the death by cremation, toxic gas, hanging, and brutal labor. I cannot begin to comprehend what was going through these people’s minds as they were escorted to their death in such a horrible way. After sitting through this lecture I begin to understand the one thing that people take most for granted; life.
Jose Diego Gonzalez - Grade 10- International Preparatory Academy, Miami
Through all my years of Holocaust learning and knowledge I have never been more interactive and directly informed in such a proactive approach. I’ve visited Holocaust Memorial in Washington D.C. and it was truly an inspiration in a sense that he has actually experienced being on the Buchenwald concentration camp grounds and gave my peers and I an inside look on what it was like during such harsh times or what the prisoners were treated like; including new knowledge of the different types of prisoners, soldiers, and even their inventions. Without doubt, Jan’s program was an unforgettable presentation and has such great persona in him. I hope and look forward to seeing him in the future.
Isabella Ortiz- -Grade 10- International Preparatory Academy, Miami
What I liked about Jan’s program is that he interacted with us by asking us questions and letting us voice our inferences and our opinions. Jan had many visuals on the PowerPoint that accorded with what he was informing us about. Another favorable aspect was the set of artifacts he’d brought us (quite retrospective to say the least). I learned that there was a more or less clear divides in Europe; Western Europe was mostly concentration camps and Eastern Europe extermination camps. Another source of information I learned was the set of triangles used to identify the prisoners of the camps (e.g. green triangles for “criminals”). This program changed my view of everyone around me; someone’s grandfather could have been killed in the Holocaust. Regarding my decision-making, I know now that any ill will toward anyone can result in my digging a grave for them.
Rhodney Pierre - Grade 10- International Preparatory Academy, Miami
This presentation really opened my mind and changed the way I saw the Holocaust. No teacher of mine has ever brought photos like the ones shown in the presentation or actual objects that belonged to the victims of the Holocaust. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m very grateful to have been a part of it
Leila Iskandarani- Grade 8 - George Washington Carver Middle School, Miami
Jan’s program was both interactive and informative. I liked how he brought actual artifacts as well as pictures of the concentration and extermination camps. The pictures show both the agony and horror of these people. But what most affected me was the quote by Martin Niemoller: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.”This quote left a mark on me. I felt like I should post the quote all over town. Jan’s presentation was phenomenal and I hope he comes back again.
Nina Diaz - Grade 10- International Preparatory Academy, Miami
Hi. I am a sophomore and my hometown is Homestead Fl. The program that currently happened in my school was amazing, I absolutely loved the idea of it and I think we should have things like this more often. What I learned from the program is the holocaust was a tragic and very depressing topic and that the ones who died, did not deserve deaths like this. It made me change my views on what I had on people so as not to be so prejudice or judgmental.
Irene Rodriguez – Somerset Academy, Miami, Florida
I really liked how interactive the presentation was. Being able to hold artifacts found in the concentration camps was something I have never done before and made me feel a closer connection to the past. I learned that the people being held in the camps were the ones who had to build them and in some cases make the clothes as well. Although I have been learning about the Holocaust since I was little, I enjoy being able to continue my Holocaust education and know that there will never be a shortage of information to learn. I have learned throughout my life to not be a bystander and stand by and watch something right in front of me that I can stop. I will always stand up for what is important to me and never let something like the Holocaust happen again.
Alexandra Henschel - Grade 12- Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School, Miami, Fl
I believe the idea that most resonated with our students following Jan's visit was the need to educate about the Holocaust. Often, we see that history repeats itself particularly when democracy is taken for granted. If we do not educate our children to think for themselves and learn to not be drawn in by propaganda but rather to allow discourse and differing opinions we run the intense risk of something as horrific as the Holocaust happening anywhere in the world.
Marta Salazar - Civics, Model United Nations and Law Studies Teacher
Miami Arts Studios 6-12, Miami, Fl
I liked how I got to experience a new way of learning through Jan. It had a huge impact on me because I now know how terrible racism can get, how inhumane people can actually be over races and religion and how this should never happen again.
Elizabeth Vega - 7th Grade- Miami Arts Studios 6-12, Miami, Fl.
I really appreciated this experience because I learned more about the Holocaust in depth and about the different people and ethnic groups affected by it. Jan Malencha did an amazing job explaining to us the hostility of the Holocaust and teaching us about the choices we have in life and the power behind those choices.
Yara Faour - 8th Grade George Washington Carver Middle School, Miami
I wanted to let you know that the visit today with Jan was a tremendous success. Jan himself is a delightful person, but the students were thoroughly engaged in his presentation and seriously approached the subject with thoughtful questions and answers. The small group activity with the photographs gave them the opportunity to use personal insight to interpret visual data of this tragedy.
We are extremely grateful to you and the Holocaust Learning and Education fund for giving us this chance to learn directly from someone involved at the source of an historical event.
Please keep us in mind if Jan or another historian chooses to visit in the future.
Dianne Johnson-Jennings, Library-Media Specialist
St. Bonaventure Catholic School
The presentation yesterday was informative and interesting! I really enjoyed hearing about the history from the prospective of a German and someone who has spent a lot of time studying concentration camps. The pictures made the presentation relatable and interactive which is very important to keep high schooler's attention. Being able to hold different artifacts from the Holocaust was very powerful as well. Thank you for coming to speak with us!
Jessica Dolberg - Senior- University School of Nova University
I attended an event with the speaker Jan Malecha who spoke about his work at Buchenwald which was an amazing experience for me. I learned about the several concentration camps that were all around Europe. I had only thought that they were in Germany. He was very engaging and made it comfortable to ask questions and not be afraid to speak up. All in all the experience not only informed me more about the Holocaust, but showed me that you can never be afraid to speak up.
Mislande M.- Jones High School- Orlando
Jan came to talk to my Holocaust class at Ocoee High School. My kids loved the presentation and have not stopped talking about it today. This was a great class, he was a great speaker, and kept my kids interested thru the whole thing. Not only would I recommend this to another teacher, but I will definitely put myself back on the list if he does this next year.
Jason Olson - Teacher- Ocoee High School - Orlando
"At South Miami Senior High we were privileged to have outstanding Holocaust Educator Jan Malecha visit our school on February 4, 2014. He facilitated an extremely thought-provoking discussion of the Holocaust, and particularly the role that the Buchenwald concentration camp played. Jan was skilled at interacting with students and eliciting their thoughts and opinions about a complex historical event. Jan brought artifacts from the camp, such as photos, and encouraged students to analyze them for their historical significance. His enthusiasm was contagious; students lined up to speak to him whenever he took a short break. Jan helped to shed light on the Holocaust and made that time period come alive. He helped students to see that we face ethical dilemmas in our lives even today, including the choice not to take a stand. I am grateful to the Holocaust Learning and Education Fund for sponsoring Jan's visit. His presentation certainly planted a seed in the lives of students imparting the idea that their actions, and the actions of others, truly make a difference in our world."
Cynthia Stafford - Library Media Specialist - South Miami Senior High School
"It was truly amazing to hear about the many hardships the victims and survivors endured, how it changed the world and impacted our lives until this day. Learning first hand from an expert of the subject was a great opportunity, and helped me realize that we can learn from our past to become better people. I literally had the chance to hold pieces of history, pieces that shaped a new chapter of history. Simply breathtaking."
Joseph Marrero - Grade 11- South Miami Senior High
"Jan was amazing, and really connected with the students! It was a great learning experience. My students were engrossed in the presentation and interacted with the presenter by asking very pertinent questions. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity! "
Maria Sardinas - Teacher- Mast Acadamy, Miami
"The Seminar was extremely eye opening. I learned a few things that I had no idea that happened during the Holocaust. I got to actually touch some of the artifacts that were actually used in those times. I'm extremely thankful that we were able to have this opportunity."
Jessica Gonzalez, 12th grade Miami, FL. Coral Gables Senior High
I really enjoyed this presentation and not just because I got a break from class, but because I was actually very interested in the topic and would have loved to have more time to listen. I am not Jewish but its still very important to know and learn about this to keep them from happening again.
Erika Guhr,Spanish River High School, Boca Raton, Fl.
"I really liked the experience and to learn more about this topic. I come from Montevideo, Uruguay and I've been around people that suffered from this. Learning more about this history helped me understand more and also, since we're in Miami where we have so many different cultures mixed, it's an amazing opportunity to learn how to interact among these different cultures."
Nicole Aguerre, 12th grade Montevideo Uruguay Coral Gables Senior High
On Thursday, January 30, 2014, I had the opportunity of participating in Jan’s program. From the moment he opened his mouth I was transported back to Buchenwald, a concentration camp hear Weimar, Germany. I learned about how life was able to see photos taken during that time and objects used and made by prisoners and even the S.S. The program taught me how drastically life could be altered, and how defending the beliefs and freedoms of others could avoid the problems people faced during World War II.
Kassandra Casanova - Grade 10- International Preparatory Academy, Miami
Incredible presentation changing my perspective and giving me a more profound understanding of the matter. Jan Malencha is the perfect example of a knowledgeable and interesting historian.
David Sanchez - Grade 8 - George Washington Carver Middle School, Miami
Jan’s program really impacted me: I love the hands-on feel; you can relive history through the photos and the video/documentary, but especially the artifacts and their history. The wire ring, for instance, really made me put myself in that prisoner’s shoes. As opposed to my previous knowledge, I now know the amount of people who were put into concentration camps; how political prisoners were really anyone who they feared could oppose. It changed me, especially in word use and overall look at life. I learned how certain words are deemed offensive, and how they’re just desensitized in America. It really impacted me in that I’ve learned to appreciate life a lot more due to the pain I’ve seen on those prisoners’ faces, as well as the conditions they lived in.
Nicholas Ramirez - Grade 10- International Preparatory Academy, Miami
I liked that Jan was friendly and willing to answer all our questions. I learned so much, for instance, Buchenwald was one of the only, if not the only concentration camp with a zoo outside the camp to entertain the officers and their families. This program definitely opened my eyes to all new truths about the Holocaust. Even though some of the things Jan said were things they teach us in school, I felt as if I were learning it for the first time. Jan’s program really did make me reflect on how terrible conditions got to be in the camps and introduced new points that without him, I probably would have never learned.
Carolina Gomez - Grade 10- International Preparatory Academy,Miami
It was fascinating to hear the story of the holocaust told from the perspective of someone from Germany. I’ve learned about the holocaust a lot, but never in such a unique way.”
Sophie Barry - Grade 8 - George Washington Carver Middle School, Miami
We had the incredible opportunity to have Jan come to visit our school last week. The presentation was absolutely mind blowing. We usually learn about the Holocaust all the time either by watching movies or reading the history but this was especially different. We were able to go deeper into the subject, and learn about Buchenwald, it was incredible. The spread of pictures that we got to see literally left a mark on me. And no matter how much I learn about the subject, this particular image of the prisoners staring at a mound of bones; left me speechless. We also were able to actually touch many artifacts found at the camp; how cool is that? Overall, Jan’s presentation was a “never before seen” experience, and I hope that others enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you so much Jan, the presentation was astonishing and truly unforgettable.
Jessica Barrios - Grade 10- International Preparatory Academy, Miami
Although, unfortunately, I was absent on the day of Jan Malecha's visit to the school that I attend, I observed active discussions among my classmates about the topics that Mr. Malecha explored in the days and weeks following his visit. I know that Mr. Malecha has had a lasting impact on the way that my classmates think of the Holocaust and of that tragic event's relevance in their daily lives. Mr. Malecha not only delivered a thorough assessment of the events of the Holocaust, but also encouraged my peers to learn more about this topic independently and to realize that the Holocaust was something with a real impact on real people. By presenting certain artifacts to my classmates, giving them a direct connection to the past, Mr. Malecha turned a historical subject that many students often see as a distant part of European history into a topic of interest for all, reminding us that the lessons of the Holocaust are universal and that we, as individuals, must be the ones who work to prevent future atrocities by stopping prejudice and hatred before they can do catastrophic harm.
Christian Blanco – Somerset Academy, Miami, Florida
To be a part of the visit by Jan to speak to us about the Holocaust and the diffusion of responsibility afterwards was outstanding. I have heard survivors speak, but never have I heard someone from my generation speak on the issue. Jan was very interesting and taught me about so many things that I did not know, even with learning about the Holocaust every year since sixth grade. I never realized that many of the companies could have said no or that so much diffusion of responsibility took place. In addition, how the concentration camps were set up and why they were set up those ways was eye opening. Ultimately, Jan's presentation was amazing and I was honored to be a part of the audience.
Shana Murphy- Grade 12- Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School, Miami, Fl
What I liked about the Holocaust program with Jan was that it was very intimate. It did impact my thinking in terms of making choices because I must think about how it will affect others.
Eria McGuire - 7th grade - Miami Arts Studios 6-12, Miami, Fl.
I have always loved history and when I heard Jan was coming to my school to do a presentation on the holocaust I really wanted to go to the presentation. His presentation by far exceeded my expectations. I learned so much more than I can from a book. I now have a new understanding, of the holocaust and I will never forget this experience Lucas Pinera - Grade 8 - George Washington Carver Middle School, Miami
In both events, the Holocaust and bullying, everyone had/has a choice, but it’s your responsibility to choose the right one.
Alvara Rodriguez - 8th Grade George Washington Carver Middle School, Miami
Thank you for taking the time to come to our school to enlighten us. My favorite part of the seminar was identifying pictures and looking at old artifacts that were used by people during the Holocaust. It was a fantastic presentation and I hope you present it to more people! Jessica Neustater - Grade 11 - University School of Nova University
Jan Malecha did an amazing job at giving us an in depth seminar about the Holocaust and what it really was. This seminar made me develop a lot of questions that I never analyzed before and it really clarified the entire historic event. He did a great job throughout his presentation and I wish we could have stayed longer! Tiara C.- Lake Highland Preparatory Academy- Orlando
Jan's fascinating and unique perspective provided by his study, his German citizenship, and most importantly his work at the Buchenwald Memorial left an indelible impression on our students. They were rapt with attention for his entire presentation ! Your and Barbara’s commitment to bring Jan to the U.S. so that our students can learn what happened at Buchenwald will shape their decisions and permanently alter their understanding of the Holocaust. Thank you both for your incredibly generous gift to our students and all who hear Jan’s presentation. With much gratitude-
Susan B. Clayton - Vice President of Advancement - Lake Highland Preparatory School - Orlando
RAVENSBRUCK - NORTHERN GERMANY- " HANG OUR HEADS IN SHAME "