Thirteen Holocaust survivors share stories and celebrate Holocaust Remembrance Day with seniors


Senior Eric Watson along with the entire senior class watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Four JC students were given the honor of laying a wreath at the tomb.

Madison Meyer, In-Depth Editor

As Morris Rosen stepped off the bus and greeted his JC student guides, he ignored their outstretched hands waiting for a polite handshake and wrapped them in a hug, kissing them on the cheek. Rosen had never met these students before, but he greeted them warmly and treated them like old friends. By the end of the day, Rosen’s guides would be left in awe of his positive outlook and mission.

Rosen is a Holocaust survivor. He was born in Dambrowa, Poland into a Jewish family. As a young adult he experienced ghetto life before being taken to a series of concentration camps, including the death camp of Buchenwald. He was liberated by the Russian army and moved to the United States in 1949.

Since then, Rosen volunteered for the Red Cross and began giving speeches about his experience during the Holocaust. He also works in the archives at the Holocaust Museum, translating documents. He has been visiting JC to speak for 17 years.

“I thought his story was amazing. It was a very touching experience,” senior Kristen Kohles, one of Rosen’s guides, said.

Thirteen Holocaust survivors visited JC on Feb. 25. They told their stories to the senior class in small groups and had lunch with their student guides before attending a speech given to the whole senior class by Sol Goldstein, one of the American liberators.

“To my knowledge, we are the only school in the area that bring multiple survivors and a liberator in [to speak] and devotes an entire day to [the Holocaust program],” Louise Géczy, who coordinates the program, said.

Senior Andrew Tran was amazed by the speeches and “liked getting to know [my survivor’s] story and seeing how he got to where he is today.”

The day before the survivors visited JC, Monday Feb. 24, the senior class went to Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C. “There was an understood amount of respect [at Arlington],” senior Brenden Hutton said. Students walked among the memorials and attended the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Four seniors, Kirsten Kyburz, Thomas Carr, Kevin Davies, and Kelly Stifler, laid a wreath from JC at the tomb.

After visiting Arlington, the seniors had lunch at Union Station before spending the rest of their day in the Holocaust Museum. “I think it was crazy to see someone who lived through that. It is unreal to look at a person and see that their parents died and are just another statistic,” senior Jessica Clingerman said.

“I’ve never seen any program that has had as much of an impact on students as this,” Géczy said. She believed Monday and Tuesday’s activities were a success, “if you define a success as when a student comes to me and says that this made a difference … or this touched my life, which happened.” Géczy says that alumni often tell her that it is one of the “standout JC memories and that they hope it never goes away.”

At the end of his visit to JC, Rosen asked his guides, “Do you think I want to talk about the Holocaust? [The men in the concentration camps] made a pact that whoever survived would tell the world our story.”

Madison Meyer is an In-Depth Editor for The Patriot and