Teens Meet Holocaust Survivors as History Comes to Life, Legacies are Ensured

By Vikki Vargas and Julie Brayton
|  Friday, Mar 8, 2013  |  Updated 10:46 PM PDT
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Students from nearly 150 schools went to Chapman University on Friday to meet more than 60 local Holocaust survivors as part of the 14th Annual Holocaust Art and Writing Awards Ceremony. Vikki Vargas reports from Orange for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on March 8, 2013.

Vikki Vargas, Kevin Dahlgren

Students from nearly 150 schools went to Chapman University on Friday to meet more than 60 local Holocaust survivors as part of the 14th Annual Holocaust Art and Writing Awards Ceremony. Vikki Vargas reports from Orange for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on March 8, 2013.

Holocaust survivor Natalie Gold Weinstein said her father had no choice.

The Nazi's were invading. So, in an effort to save them both, he left her on the steps of a police station then disappeared. Three years would pass before they were reunited.

And it was the story of Sophie Weinstein's mother that inspired a winning poem at the 14th Annual Holocaust Art and Writing Awards Ceremony, held at Chapman University.

Students from nearly 150 high schools and middle schools from around the country descended on the campus Friday to meet more than 60 survivors.

The image of Weinstein watching her mother burn to death moved 15-year-old Devshi Mehrotra to end her poem with the words “in your footsteps I find the courage to move on.”

"I really hope to introduce my friends and my family to all the pain that they suffered, but also the lessons that they learned through this experience," Mehrotra said.

The goal of the program is to get the students to ask questions, and to understand that they are torchbearers of the holocaust story.

"It just warms my heart, because I know that they get it," Weinstein said. "They get what it was, and they get what they need to make this a better world. So, my heart swells with pride."

More than 2,000 copies of "The Holocaust Chronicle" were donated to the event, and each student received a copy, which survivors signed.

For the teenagers, it is history come to life.

For the survivors, it is a chance to ensure their legacy will live on, through words and art created by perhaps the last generation of young people to be able to come face to face with a holocaust survivor.

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