MEXICO – From hot soup secretly made in the barracks of a concentration camp to a warm, full-Kosher luncheon in the Mexico High School library, Holocaust survivor Marion Blumenthal Lazan has learned to appreciate the simple joys in life.
What was taken away or rationed in Nazi-controlled Germany and Holland in the 1930s and 1940s, has been made up with love, compassion and hope for the now octogenarian.
Lazan has traveled the world sharing her story of survival because students of today will be among the last generation to ever hear a first-hand account of the horror and triumphs.
She, her husband, students, Mexico Middle School and Mexico High School staff members and additional Mexico Academy and Central School District personnel dined over a delicious, traditional meal cooked by Elizabeth Passer and shared stories about families growing up in Germany.
Eighth graders in Mona Goble’s German language class at the middle school read Lazan’s “Four Perfect Pebbles” book printed in English, while some of Kimberly Rice’s German 4 and 5 students at the high school read the book in German ahead of Lazan’s visit.
High school librarian Nicole Nicosia said she was happy to witness all of the discussion and engagement – in both English and German – around Lazan and her history.
During the intimate luncheon, Lazan autographed copies of her book for students and teachers before MACS eighth and 10th graders listened to her story of survival.
She painted a picture of a beautiful Germany in the early 1930s, but in a few years her family’s life changed when the mass of verbal and physical assault against the Jewish people began.
Forced to sell the family business and flee to Holland, Lazan’s family became trapped there when Germany invaded the country one month before their expected immigration to America.
The Nazi reign of terror was met with diseases and destruction that claimed the lives of countless Jews.
After liberation, her family eventually set sail to the United States of America and to this day Lazan still holds the sight of the Statue of Liberty close to her heart.
Freedom, tolerance and acceptance, she said, will forever be in her heart.
Lazan concluded her visit with lots of hugs and admiration for MACS again welcoming her with open arms.
Her visit was made possible thanks to the Arts-in-Education program at the Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation.