Around the UFT

Holocaust survivors visit IS 187, Brooklyn

First-hand learning

Miller Photography Teacher Sarah Schmerler introduces the Grueners. Ruth’s biography, “Destined to Live,” describes how she was hidden as an 8-year-old in a Christian family’s house, which enabled her to survive.
Miller Photography Adinolfi leads the school’s 6th-grade chorus in songs in Hebrew and Yiddish to commemorate the day.

The Holocaust became real for students at IS 187, the Christa McAuliffe School in Brooklyn, when two survivors, Ruth and Jack Gruener, visited the 8th-grade class of teacher Sarah Schmerler on May 18 and shared some of their experiences. “Many of my students had no prior knowledge of the Holocaust,” Schmerler said. “This made me realize the importance of teaching about it and drawing lessons from the Holocaust.” Students worked on independent research, visited the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan and watched a documentary before the Grueners’ visit to their class, but “it added another dimension to hear it firsthand from survivors,” Schmerler said. The school’s 6th-grade chorus, under the direction of music teacher Joseph Adinolfi, performed songs with special significance for the day, “Hatikva,” a Hebrew song about hope, and “A bi gizunt,” a Yiddish song that means “all should be well.” The Grueners shared their email address with students, many of whom plan to follow up on their conversation in that way. They were presented with a plaque for “keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive.”

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