PHOTO: Lidia Siciarz, a Holocaust survivor, volunteers with Brookdale’s Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education.
HIGHLANDS, NJ — Students at Henry Hudson Regional School received a firsthand account of history on Monday, February 24 th at an assembly held for the entire school and faculty.
Mrs. Lidia Siciarz, a local Holocaust survivor, was welcomed to Henry Hudson Regional School to share her experience as a child in Poland during the Nazi regime. Mrs. Siciarz described in detail how she survived the Nazi invasion, the separation from her parents, and hiding in catholic orphanages under an assumed name, until being finally being reunited with her father in 1945.
With an introduction by Mr. Shawn Feeney, Hudson’s high school social studies teacher, Mrs. Siciarz spoke for over 30 minutes, while students listened intently to the details of the horrible treatment of Jews, and of learning of the death of most of her family members, including her mother but also the power of human resiliency and kindness by those willing to hide and protect Jews from being exposed to the Nazis.
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Principal Lenore Kingsmore closed out the assembly by thanking Mrs. Siciarz for sharing her story, and giving special thanks to Mrs. Jeanette Parmigiani, Director of Holocaust Programs for the Baltimore Jewish Council, who helped organize the visit along with Mr. Feeney and noted how special it was to see “the entire school attend, with students listening so intently and respectfully.”
After the assembly, Mrs. Siciaz spoke to many of the attendees who were honored to listen to her account. She noted the importance of sharing her experience “because it should not happen again.”
ABOUT HENRY HUDSON REGIONAL SCHOOL – The staff, administration and Board of Education of the Henry Hudson Regional School District is committed to the philosophy and ideals of American democracy. Accordingly, it is committed to helping each pupil grow in his/her understanding, in his/her appreciation and in his/her participation in democracy as a way of life. Therefore, the school must nurture a willingness on the part of the pupil to accept his/her responsibilities as a citizen. These responsibilities include: interest in local, national and international affairs, discriminating attitudes toward social, political, and economic forces and respect for individual and social differences.