Documenting the Holocaust

Sorry it has been so long since my last post, I’ve been really busy especially since it is the end of the year and we are starting to take all the final exams. I am starting on my project for Hebrew class which will have a final in the form of a project. She has been very lose, in terms of what the final product has to be. The theme is based on the Holocaust and documentation. How can we document the stories of Holocaust survivors so that people can remember? We watched this amazing documentary called “One Paper Clip at a Time.” If you have not seen it, please go and watch it. There is something really special about this school in Tennessee. We watched this for a inspiration to start with our project. I was totally mixed as what I wanted to do. I wanted it to be unique and special, but at the same time still be a practical way of remembering the Holocaust. My idea did not come until the last minute during Hebrew class today when we needed an idea. For this unit, my high school classes is actually going to help direct one specific Humanities 8th grade class (which is interesting since I am in 8th grade, but belong to the Hebrew class) into interviewing and documenting the story of 6 Holocaust survivors that are coming to our school. This is done every year, but only in a certain class, which I am not apart of. So, I’m lucky enough to be able to experience face to face contact with these survivors. However, there is a time once a year, besides this event, where one Holocaust survivor is invited to our school to talk about his or her story, as was mentioned in the previous post about the story of a 5 year old girl in the Holocaust. People are dying, so the primary sources from this event is diminishing, so we as students need to record and document this data in a special way for future generations.

My idea for the Hebrew project was to make a letter. If the Holocaust survivor I will be interviewing could have sent a letter during the time of the war, what would he/she say? If they were in a concentration camp, what was going on? How did people act? Who were the good people that helped midst the situation? I want the letter to contain details of everything that was going on. This letter would represent the Holocaust survivor’s story but as if it was during the time of the war. If he or she could have sent a letter during that time to a loved one, this would be the content in the letter.

I think it will be a powerful representation of one story among thousands of others and my Hebrew teacher was in awe. So, I will need help, but hopefully I will be able to pull it off. I can’t wait until they come to really listen, first hand, to their stories. Unlike many of my friends who have grandparents that are Holocaust survivors, I don’t. I am willing to listen to their stories, and hopefully others – like all of you – can listen to them and take them to heart to tell future generations. This was a tragic event that happened in history and the world, in any country, should never let happen again. Innocent people do not deserve to die, and I think we all have learned valuable lessons. But these heart wrenching stories, must be documented and shared.

Yom Hashoa – Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yesterday we had an important one hour assembly for the Holocaust Remembrance Day. It was the first assembly where high school, middle school, and elementary school (only 5th grade) were all together. We watched a movie that was put together of the 10th, 11th, and 12th graders that went to Poland. This a trip in which all high schoolers (except ninth grade) go on to look at the remains from the Holocaust. The movie was so powerful. One Catholic girl on the trip said, “Once Jews marched on a trail leading into the woods. In rows of 5 they walked. Each one walking up to a ditch. Then, a Nazi soldier shot them down – one by one – and each one after a shot fell into that ditch. And here we march on the same path into the woods. Going to the destination they went before they died. But at the ditch we prayed and sang. I watched my fellow classmates walk with an Israeli flag covered over their shoulders as we marched.” There were just so many horrors and hearts broken as the children went to the Poland Trip. They saw how close a normal pretty town was right next to crematoriums. They found ashes and also piles and piles of shoes and bags that were left behind while the Jews were taken.

 

Then, the next part of the program the high school boys choir sang 6 Million in Hebrew. Of what I remember 6 million Jews were killed, 1 million kids, 2 million Catholics/Christians, and 1 million others.

 

A guest speaker came to talk to us, and it turns out she was a holocaust survivor. She said to us – a very optimistic woman – told us she didn’t want to fill our hearts and minds with bad things and memories but to tell us about few special people that were braved and had saved her life as well as others. She told us two stories, which I will try to explain as best I can.

She lived at a convent as a young girl. She was 5 at the time of the Holocaust. Her parents had wanted to go to Israel before the war, but her parents were able to get a shop and business going, so they didn’t. Her mother always told her pretend you don’t know or understand anything because she spoke both Hebrew and Polish. She said that it was better to be stupid than to say something stupid. She had also died her daughters hair from black to blond and told her to pretend your tired all the time so that no one would see her black Jewish eyes. Her father was killed while she was at the religious boarding school, but she did not mention what had happened to her mother. When her hair started to grow out and her black roots started to show, the nuns thought it was part of the devil and they started to pray for her. There was a young priest at the church and he came up to her and said in Hebrew, “You don’t have to worry. I will protect you.” She then asked, without knowing what else to do, “How do you know?” The priest said that in her sleep she started to cry out Abba, Emma (Father, Mother), Ani rotza lalechet ha bieta (I want to come back home). She never spoke in her sleep again, after hearing the news. Sometimes, though she would wake up in the middle of the night and see that the priest was beside her bed. She felt safe. The priest helped her pass her classes at school too, since she was finally able to get out of the mindset that “she doesn’t know or understand anything” even if it was simple. One day though, a Nazi soldier took the priest away, and she never saw him again. It turns out he had helped other Jews and disguised them as Christians. The soldier had asked who she was and the head mistress told him that she was an orphan that they had taken in out of charity. At this point in the war, since it was the beginning, they were only looking for people that were resisting, so for that time, she was safe.

The second story was when she was 7 years old. All the Polish people had to evacuate where she was living. So, all the Polish, including her convent had to march to the train station. The head mistresses daughter (16 years old) loved her like a sister. She begged her mom to let her come with them and that they would take care of her. The 16 year old had a boyfriend that had gotten shot on his side. He told her (the holocaust survivor) that they were both in trouble and that he would take care of her. The head mistress gave her two heavy bags to carry on the march. She was afraid if she let go of the bags, since they were so heavy, that the mistress would leave her behind. The town was being destroyed, so if she were to be left behind, it would mean certain death. The 16 year old girls boy friend saw her struggling and told her to let go of the bags and leave them behind. She did what she was told. She was so exhausted and worn out from the march, that she could barely walk. The boyfriend picked her up and they started walking. In the middle of the journey, she felt that her skirt was wet. She looked down, and saw that it was red. She realized that him carrying her, had made his wound open again and was bleeding. She begged him to let her down, but he said, “shh, no. Just put your head on my shoulder.” By the time they got to the train station, he put her down next to him, and he laid down with the support from a wall. There was a soldier nearby. Then, the boyfriend had a pistol that fell out of his pocket. The Nazi soldier saw him and the gun, and took him. They went around a corner and she heard 2 shots. She never saw him again.

To this day, the holocaust survivor can not look at boots because her height at the time of the holocaust only looked at boots and guns that the soldiers carried. She told us that we are the future, and we are here to make it better. She is telling us her story, for us, to lead a better life. I think this is really something, but I wish I could have heard more. In May, my Hebrew class (for the first time) is going to work with another middle school class that are doing a section on “living history” to talk and interview five holocaust survivors. So, I will definitely take notes and write their stories for all of you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunger Games?

Right before Spring Break finished, two of my friends (Angolan and Russian/Israeli) and I went to go watch the Hunger Games. Everyone has been dying to see it they haven’t already seen it a couple of times. So, we had to pre-order our tickets the night before so that we could go see the movie.

I never read the books, however the movie was pretty good. Throughout though, I keep wondering to myself why? Why would they have a game where children kill children? My mom says it’s like the Romans – where they have animals kill people. I think it is a interesting concept. My humanities teacher was talking about how the book is really not that well written and that his 6th graders could write better. I have different views because I know others really love the book but some do not. I tried reading the first page of the first book and of the third. There was nothing really that hooked me into reading the book. But, I’m going to try to read it in my free time as well as the summer. I’ll give my own reviews on the book, but they did an excellent job with the movie. So, I’ll definitely watch the second and third movie when it comes out in the years to come.

Hot Weather, American Eagle, & My Sweet Comments

First off, there has been some comments that have gone straight to my spam box that are not spam at all! I have approved all but two (that were spam) to show up on my blog. I am so sorry for all of you that have commented, just because I didn’t see them. You all are very nice and I just like to thank you! I wish I could have seen all of your comments sooner. But now I’ll work on replying to all of you her are so gracious enough to read my blog let alone comment. I really appreciate each and every one of you!

Summer break has just finished. We got back to school yesterday. I already have a persuasive essay next week (which is an inclass writing), a vocabulary test this Friday, and Health test this Friday, and a Hebrew Oral Assessment. So, as soon as I got back, I’m very busy again. However, during the break I started running and biking with my dad. Not so much now that school has started, but the biking has been a great benefit. Also, the weather here is finally getting warm! I know it is just the beginning of April, but that’s the beauty of Israel.  Now that it’s hot enough, I am finally able to wear shorts from …. AMERICAN EAGLE!

Most of my cloths at the moment have been what I have bought here in Israel. Yes, I know, America is MUCH cheaper. But, now all these American stores (like Forever21 and American Eagle) are coming out to Israel. So, I went on Sunday to the mall with the intention of just getting swimsuit bottoms. Instead, we found out that American Eagle had finally opened. My mom and I went there and we bought a ton of stuff for summer. It’s everything I’ve seen in the website. I was SO excited because I’ve never actually shopped there but have looked at everything on their website (which I fell in love with). I am so excited! Also, I was able to ask (a student council president) to have a no uniform Friday this week. Great news – we can! So, I will be able to wear something new that I got from American Eagle. The have very nice stuff that is in style, but most importantly feel like good quality. I would definitely recommend it to all those other 14 year olds out there. Also, there was a sale at the store where you buy 1 item and get another 50% off. My friend and I both ended up getting the same bag for school without even knowing (which is really cool because two other girls did the same thing with a different brand in the beginning of the year).

Beach, Birthday, and Biking

The weather, besides the last two days, is becoming like summer. This winter was probably the coldest since I’ve been here, and therefore going to make this summer the hottest ever (since 50 fifty years). So, you can kind of feel the heat coming on already. This is the greatest thing about Israel, especially this year. It’s early April, and I was able to go into  the ocean two days ago (although it was a bit cold). I got a bit of a tan even. So, the weather has been really nice really early on in the year!

Yesterday my dad and I surprised my mom with a day at the spa. Basically, my mom and I had lemonade, a 45 minute massage, and we could go into the Jacuzzi.  That was my dad’s gift to my mom and he also framed a collage of pictures of when we (the kids) were young with my mom. I gave here gummy bears and at the same place at the massage, she got a coupon for a free manicure and pedicure. She’s been talking about getting her nails done for awhile. So, she was really excited and was so surprised. She repeatedly told us how much she appreciated this, and how this was the birthday was the best ever. At first when she saw my present, she was like oh no this is way to expensive. But, I’ve been working really hard to earn the $56 and we already paid for it. I just feel like, everything my mom has done for me everyday, is well worth it. She deserves the best, and this is the littlest I can do for her. I love her so much! Also, we did a quick stop at the house and then go to the beach (which turned out it was too cold) and there were her favorite flowers – red gerberas – and Max Brenner chocolate (which is the best chocolate in Israel) from my brothers. Then, at the end, we went to my parents friends house (they have a boy in my grade) for dinner. It was very good, and I brought a cake that I had made (one of my best/smoothest/most professional cakes I’ve ever made) for dessert.

Finally, as a conclusion for this post, I have discovered something I can do to stay active. Basically, I had to quit the fitness/running program I did with one of my friends, because my headaches became worse. But lately, I’ve gone to the beach, running, and also bike ridding. I just realized something, as my dad and I have been “bi-athletes” (biking and running), that biking could become a possible sport. We start off running like 1.5 miles and then bike for whatever we are up for. I have found, the biking, although it is exercise, my head does not move up and down constantly. I don’t know if this effects my head aches or not, but bike ridding has something special, wear my head does not hurt afterwards. Of course, I have constant headaches, but this doesn’t exacerbate them, like other exercise does. In my next post, I’ll talk about my plan to become more fit. I’m not sure how it’s working, but I am starting to see some changes after doing this for about 2 weeks. I feel stronger, but because of me being able to eat sweets (it isn’t helping!). So, I might have to make a few cuts. Hopefully, not too much. But I’m working on this for summer! So more info on my exercising next time (probably tomorrow). . .

Here are some pictures of me decorating my cake (which is chocolate and it was 1 in the morning when I was just finishing up) and the special picture my mom took and sent to my brothers the chocolate and flowers.

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If a recipe of  the chocolate cake is requested, I can make a post one that. I also have some other posts, I’m planning up that will come up soon!

Random Yet Special!

Just a special random blog about….

Today, I got my 5th blog follower! I’m so excited. I have one twitter follower, and 4 comment followers. It’s really special to me, each individual that reads my blog because I feel as if I have affected someone’s life in some way that is thousands of miles away. People from Canada, the States, Cambodia, Columbia, France, and so many others I can’t even list look at my blog. It gives me a good feeling to know that someone actually reads this, and click the like button or follow me. Thanks for each and every one of you for just visiting my blog and reading it.

One week from today I also start school. I am really not looking forward to all the work that is facing me. I’ve tried to do some of my homework (and trying to finish it up), like my lab report. Now I’m starting to write my Hebrew presentation out. My mind is still numb from this whole year that I don’t even think I’ll make it out. My friend, whom I skype call for the longest time this past week because she is in France, and I have been talking about dropping out together (just as a joke of course) and wondering how people even make it through high school, let alone college. We have school until the 13th of June, so pretty soon. Also, I might leave early if I am accepted to this STEM program. So, I’ll also miss my 8th grade graduation, but weighing everything, I think that’s alright.  I can’t wait until summer, where I’ll finally go back to the States and go swimming in the heat of the sun, and having nothing to do. I watched the finale of Wizards of Waverly Place through Skype of my friends computer (the one from France). Very cool with the technology….

A few days ago I signed the paper. I signed to take myself out of the wait list for Exeter. They received it. So, officially (we also signed the form that I would come back next year) I will be attending WBAIS for my first year of high school. I’m pretty excited because there are so many courses that I can choose in high school. It’s exciting, and I’m really happy! Exeter already put me in next years round. I basically didn’t want to hurt my chances by pushing the wait list, get in, and then not go, for next year. So, I think it’s all going to go, somewhat, okay. My life is crazy, and I barely know what’s happening the year after the next. My dad was suppose (and still probably is) going to Iraq next year and my mom and I will stay in Israel, but now they are thinking about having him stay here another year, and then go to Iraq. We’ll see where that takes us (if something does happen), because I could stay here an extra year, which would be exciting.

And finally, my mother’s birthday is coming up. It’s on Wednesday. My dad and I have a special plan, and everything is SO top secret, that I won’t share it to you all until after the fact (just because my mom MIGHT – very slim possibility – read this). But, it’s something worth waiting for. . .

Easter

We just had an awesome brunch at a place called Benedicts. It’s the best place to have breakfast, since in Israel they have more Israeli breakfasts with hard boiled eggs and salad. Here, it’s more like an American place. Really yummy in fact. Then, my friends and I are going to watch a movie (really soon). I’m not quiet sure what we are watching though. But then after that, straight away, my family and I are going to Jerusalem.

We are going to spend the night there at the Notre Dame hotel. Then, in the morning, we are going to wake up and have a church service at 5 AM! That’s gonna be early, considering I’ve gone to be at 1 in the morning this whole last week. We are going to a church where it is known to not be where Jesus tomb was but, it gives off the feeling like it. The whole point of waking up at 5 before dawn, is to “walk in Marry’s shoes” when she brought linens and oil to properly anoint Jesus before burring him. This will be really cool, I think. We’ll see how it goes, but I can’t wait. This will be a pretty memorable Easter, I think.

And next year my birthday will be on Easter again!!! (I’m keeping track. I had Easter on my birthday when I was 3, next year when I will turn 15, when I’m 25, 88, and finally 99. After that I don’t think I’ll be alive, but it’s pretty cool!).

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