Holocaust survivor Werner Reich visited Amityville Memorial High School on March 7 to not only speak about one of the biggest atrocities in history, but to relay a message to students about character.
Mr. Reich met with 10th-graders, who study European history as part of the social studies curriculum. His PowerPoint presentation included photographs, maps and cartoons, which illustrated his story about being arrested, held in a concentration camp and finally liberated at 17 years old.
The 90-year-old Suffolk County resident and author used his story to spread an anti-bullying message. He said an act of oppression has four groups of people: the victim, the bully, the good people who do nothing and the good people who do something. He encouraged students to be the latter by standing up for others who are being treated unfairly. His advice to them was, “Don’t wait for others. Be the first to act.”
Dawn Mizrachi, chairwoman of the high school social studies department, said that there are very few Holocaust survivors still alive, and it was a rewarding experience for students to hear from Mr. Reich and to ask him questions. She explained that they not only received a history lesson from someone who lived it, but learned how to apply that knowledge to their own lives.