River Grove students visit Holocaust museum
Updated: January 9, 2012 8:38AM
A group of River Grove School students visited Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie last month and learned about bullying and the Holocaust.
“I cannot say enough nice things about the museum,” said teacher Cheryl Wrobel. “It is a great experience for our students.”
Wrobel said that students read a very condensed version of the “Diary of Anne Frank” at the beginning of the school year. While at the museum, students were able to relate their lessons to the sights and sounds in the museum.
One topic was the effect genocide had on families. The students could not believe the discrimination that happened within the Holocaust, Wrobel said.
The visit coincided with River Grove School’s anti-bullying week. At the museum, Wrobel said, students did several anti-bullying activities including computer games and video games.
“In class, we taught students that no matter what your economic background, gender, race or religion, no one deserves to be bullied. We are all equal and no one should ever be the subject of bullying,” Wrobel said.
Students were put into different scenarios and were asked what they would do in different situations.
“The museum showed students what it meant to be a bystander and an upstander. If a problem is too much for them to handle, they should tell a trusted friend or adult,” she said.
Wrobel said that the most amazing part of the field trip consisted of students meeting a Holocaust survivor.
Agnes Schwartz spoke to the students about her personal story surviving the Holocaust. She was born in Hungary and had a happy childhood. But, after the Nazis gained power in Hungary, her family was taken to a half-way house and then her mother and father were taken to a concentration camp.
Schwartz was then raised by her nanny as a Catholic to hide her Jewish faith. Her father miraculously made it back to her, but she never saw her mother again. That is when Schwartz and her father immigrated the United States.
“They were completely awestruck with the speaker,” Wrobel said. “Mrs. Schwartz related to them with her story. It gave them a great global awareness of the world and what is really going on. There is an entire existence that is beyond their community that they were never aware of.”
Wrobel said the field trip ended with a video about genocide happening around the world today and what the students can do.
“I encourage other families to visit the museum. It is an outstanding experience to meet a Holocaust survivor because they are a piece of history who need their stories heard,” Wrobel said.