Friday, June 19, 2009
Excerpts from students’ journals
“Mr. Krasa has a certain amount of time left on earth. . . . if he were to die (I can’t even think of that. It makes me want to cry) all of his stories and experiences would be lost forever. Because he told his story to us and because he tells countless others) we younger ones can carry it on. Otherwise an important piece of history would just be swept away as if it was nothing. I can’t let that happen!”
“I will always remember Mr. Krasa, and if I ever have children and they study about the Holocaust, I will do my best to remember and to recite his story. . . .These people are honorable, and they are strong people with important tales. Knowing their stories will help us know how to respond when this type of situation reappears. They also teach us courageous behavior, and hopefully that will rub off on us.”
“I’m sitting there, listening to him, and as he talks, images of what he is saying are rolling through my head. But my images are all made up. Imaginary. He’s standing there, recounting his story, and what’s rolling through his head isn’t just made up pictures you get when you read a book. They are real, actual memories of what everything looked like and felt.”
“Until now, I really haven’t totally comprehended that this was really real. I looked at the ink that the Nazis injected into Mr. Krasa’s arm. I saw the shoulder that a bullet had lodged into when he was heading for his doom. I saw the flesh and bone of the Holocaust. Mr. Krasa touched the barracks. Mr. Krasa actually had to cramp into a cattle car. I have no words to describe the appreciation I feel for his will to stay alive and to show us his past. . . . This Holocaust unit has helped me conquer my own judgmental attitude. I feel like seeing a first-hand account with my own eyes has changed the big picture for me. This is what discrimination looks like. This is what hatred does.”
“I think it is very important for survivors to tell their stories and for people like us to listen . . . he has a huge power that very few people have, to pass on these memories, generation to generation of these incredible stories. There is a saying that history must be learned or else it will repeat itself. . . . I mainly just believe that these survivors deserve to be listened to after all they have gone through. Someone should hear about it. Listening and speaking are critical parts of keeping memory alive.”
Letters of Gratitude to Mr. Krasa from eighth-grade students
You have made me believe that there really are heroes in the world.
You made me better understand what it felt like (to witness these events) even through it is very hard for us to imagine. You must have an incredibly strong will to survive and to keep trying despite unimaginable hardships. You have changed my understanding of the world and of humanity.
Before this, the Holocaust was simply something that took place in the past. But now, hearing the story of a real survivor we know that humans are capable of committing terrible deeds. We will always be grateful for the way you spilled your soul to us and told your story. We will carry our memories of these stories forever.
© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito