Ellinwood received a rare and important gift this week when Holocaust survivor and author Marion Blumenthal-Lazan visited with students and the community. She shared the story of her family, who miraculously survived what has come to be called the Holocaust. All four were prisoners at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and narrowly escaped extermination at the end of World War II.
Sixty-one years has passed since she and her family were liberated, at the brink of death. That’s a lot of time for the rest of the world to forget the lessons that back then were so clear. She knows the voices of those who experienced the horror first hand are growing every more quiet as they near the ends of their lives. She perseveres in telling the story, and continues to have hope that it will be heard.
Listening to her words Monday night, it was clear that our presidential candidates could both use a refresher on what happens when we forget to treat one another as we should, from Lazan or someone like her.
“Be kind and good and respectful and tolerant of one another,” she said, summing up her talk. “That is the basis for peace. With respect and tolerance for one another, some seventy years ago, I would not be here today to share this story with you. Nine-eleven would not have occurred. Be kind and good and respectful towards one another. There is very little you can do against the negativity in our world, but how we behave, treat and reach out towards one another, that is entirely up to us.”
Respect, she added, is best taught at home. That’s something each and every one of us can make a point of practicing, starting today.