Holocaust Survivor Fred Schoenfeld Visits Rodeph Sholom Middle School

To honor Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, we proudly welcomed Holocaust survivor Fred Schoenfeld to Rodeph Sholom School. Fred has participated in the Rodeph Sholom community for many years and was driven to speak publicly about his experience when faced with the reality that some people actively work to deny that the atrocity happened. With antisemitism once again on the rise and the understanding that within a few years, there will be no one living who will be able to testify to their experiences firsthand, Fred set out to share his story with younger generations so they may be able to keep the memory of it alive and work toward eradicating injustice in all its forms for all people. 

Addressing the Middle School, Fred took the students through his journey from a happy childhood in Slovakia through the slow disappearance of his ability to live normally, go to school, be seen in public, and then how his family went into hiding first in an attic then in the mountains, only surviving because of the decency righteous gentiles. Having never been in a concentration camp Fred, at first, did not consider himself a survivor, but his harrowing experience is not only valid but gives us an alternate picture of the fortitude and resilience it took for his immediate family to recognize warning signs and take the necessary steps to survive. We are deeply grateful to Fred Shoenfeld for taking the time to visit us.

In addition to Fred Schoenfeld’s testimony, throughout the school students honored the Shoah in a variety of ways. In Jewish Studies class 4th Grade students discussed righteous gentiles and the importance of being an upstander. Students learned about Irena Sendler, Chiune Sugihara, Raoul Wallenberg, and King Mohammed V of Morocco. In Hebrew class, students took a moment to commemorate Yom HaShoah by learning the stories of heroes such as Hannah Szenes, Janusz Korczak, and Mordechai Anielewicz. 

Through classwork that teaches students to think critically and dialogue intentionally about the complex world in which they live, Rodeph Sholom School supports students as they pursue their collective responsibility to build a world of tzedek (justice), instills in them a genuine respect for upright behavior, and encourages their ability to act.

To learn if Rodeph Sholom School is the right fit for your child, contact us today!