As Vice Chair of the HMTC, I am very proud to recommend a visit to our center and a visit our website to learn about us and our important mission.
An organization that is defined by it's name. The preeminent resource and research institution on Long Island for Holocaust education is more importantly a place where children can learn to become better human beings. What more contribution can a learning institution claim?
I first learned of this Center after my father (an Auschwitz survivor) passed away. After sitting in on an education meeting I was motivated to become involved in spreading the word! This Center not only preserves the memory of survivors but uses those lessons to teach tens of thousands of school age children each and every year. There is NO cost to school districts or attendees. The Center also addresses current genocides and is involved with community activities with regards to diversity and teaching tolerance across the generations.
I will never forget the first day I walked into the center. I was asked to sit in on a class of 9th graders. A rowdy group of kids file in. In walks and old man who introduces himself by name, age, and then states "I am a Holocaust survivor of Auschwitz" as he walks, he pull up his sleeve, showing his Numbered tattoo. He continued "I lost my mother, my father, all my sisters and brothers." He had there attention. For the next 2 hours, This survivor went on two tracks back and forth. He went over point by point each act of discrimination, leading to each act of crime against humanity. He went on to explain how how each Nazi action dehumanized there victims. At the same time, he explained what happened to his family step by step chronologically, thru his liberation. As may be expected. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. It was the next part of his presentation that blew me away. He said "now if all i accomplished today was to tell you how rough it was for me growing up, I wasted your time." You see my goal is to prevent this horror from ever happening again. To do this, you need to understand how this happened. Not everyone in Germany bought into the Nazi propaganda, There was 5% of the German population that were firm in there Nazi beliefs. They hated me for who i was. And I'm sure just like then, there could be 5% of you here today that hate me purely out of pregidous. For you, my story meant nothing, and im sure your ready to come at me again. All you need to know is that this time I'm ready. Also in Germany, there was 5% of the population that fought the Nazis. That tried to save us. But they simply couldn't overcome the Nazi hate. I am sure that there are 5% of you here, that before you came in today would always stand up for whats right. You didn't need to hear my talk today, but I'm Glad you did. Then came the people that let it happen. The 90% of the German population that stood by and did nothing while all these atrocities took place. They were bystanders to the worst crime in human history. Today, I'm here to talk to you. If you learned anything today Don't be a bystander. Don't let people bully your classmates in front of you. Don't let people make racial comments in front of you. Don't let someone be left out of the group in front of you. Don't let people go hungry in front of you. Don't be a bystander to the ways of the world. Be an upstander. Stand up for whats right. Stand up for those that can not stand alone by themselves. For that 90% I am here to educate you. That day the center changed many lives. And its done the same thing for thousands of kids each year since. Teaching people to stand up and make the world better. i cant think of a more important cause.