Local students thank survivor of Holocaust
Editor's note: Sonia Golad, a 72-year-old Kansas City woman, visited in late January with Tonganoxie Junior High School students about the horrors of the Holocaust. Each year, Golad talks with Bill Shaw's eighth-grade language arts at the time the students are reading "The Diary of Anne Frank." Following are letters several of the eighth-graders wrote to Golad after her visit here.
Thank you so much for coming and speaking to our class. I know that I could never possibly see the Holocaust as clearly as you, but you helped me understand what really went on. To meet someone who has actually experienced something like this, something that has put a gash in the goodness of history, is incredible. I also thought it was amazing that you risked your life, the only thing you had left, for the lives of other people. Again, I thank you so much for sharing your experiences and the events of the Holocaust.
I would like to say I really enjoyed your presentation, but I can't enjoy hearing about something so horrible. I am, however, very glad that you shared with us your horrible ordeal. It opened my eyes even further toward the evils of prejudice. It also showed me that prejudice cannot be allowed or we will have another thing such as the Holocaust. With people telling stories such as yours, I hope everyone will see what horrors that discrimination based upon race, religion or belief can cause. I thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. I know that you have boxes to the ceiling filled with letters such as mine, but I hope this letter sticks out in your mind and helps inspire you to keep telling your story until the Lord sees it is time tot take you into his presence. Godspeed to you.
Thank you for coming to our school and talking about the Holocaust. I really understand how horrible it was now. I wouldn't have had the strength to survive all that time. You are really brave and you are strong on the inside. It must have taken a lot to survive. You have girl power.
Dear Sonia Golad,
Thank you for visiting our school. I think your talk was very interesting. You must have had a hard life. If you think about it, people like me really have it easy. It really puts things in perspective. I also think that the Holocaust must be worse than most people think. I mean, we know it was bad, we've heard the stories and watched the films, but for someone who has experienced it first-hand, it must be worse than any of us could ever imagine. Sometimes I don't think it's possible to fully understand the Holocaust without experiencing it. Anyway, I think it is wonderful that you speak to schools about the Holocaust. I'd just like to say thank you for visiting our school to talk about the Holocaust.
Dear Mrs. Sonia Golad,
Thank you for coming to my school. It was a great experience to meet someone who lived through the Holocaust. Mrs. Golad, I believe that you lived because God wanted your story to be told. Though it is sad, we must learn from our mistakes. "Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it." Mrs. Golad, you are a strong, good, loving person. I am honored to have met you and heard your first-hand story. Keep on telling people your story. They will listen. One last thing: I have heard not to let anything stop me from what I am destined to do. No, Mrs. Golad, I understand how I am going to do what is right and what I am destined to do. All thanks to you!
Dear Ms. Sonia Golad,
Thank you for coming to talk to our school. I really enjoyed your presentation. You are a very strong and brave person to have lived through the Holocaust. I pray that nothing like that will ever happen again. And I can promise you that if anything ever did happen like this again that I will stand up for what's right, even if I am the only one which I truly doubt because I know that people know what's right and what's wrong. But I would like to say that I admire people like you for making the world realize how dangerous hate can be.
Thanks for coming to speak to our grade on Jan. 25. I think we all learned a lot about the Holocaust from someone who experienced it first-hand. I just couldn't imagine how terrible it would have been during the Holocaust. I admired how you didn't talk with anger in your voice. You still believe that everyone should have tolerance toward each other, despite what all happened. Again, thank you for coming to speak with us.
Thank you very much for coming to visit us at Tonganoxie Junior High. Your story will hopefully be remembered, along with many other stories of the Holocaust. The suffering was unimaginable and I will pledge myself to making sure it will never be repeated. My only hope is that others of my age and future generations will know the horror of this atrocity and know never to try to re-create it. I wish you the best of luck.