Two Stoughton students win Holocaust essay contest
Two Stoughton High School students won the 16th annual Israel Arbeiter Holocaust Essay Contest, which featured original Holocaust essays written by students in Greater Boston.
Souleymane Diallo and John Perry were two of six winners who received all-expenses-paid trips to Washington, DC, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The names were announced on International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) on April 28. This day commemorates the six million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust as a result of actions carried out by Nazi Germany.
The trip to Washington is underwritten by the New England Friends of March of the Living (NEF MOTL). The contest was sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and honors the memory of Holocaust survivor and longtime Newton resident, Israel Arbeiter, who died last year.
After resettling in Boston, Izzy Arbeiter devoted more than half a century to teaching younger generations about the origins of anti-Semitism and prejudice, and traced the loss of most of her family to concentration camps. Nazis. Often, he rolled up his sleeve to show the audience the prisoner’s ID number tattooed forever on his arm.
In his essay, ‘My Nightmare’, senior John Perry wrote: “Without purpose I wander away. I cannot believe what I have witnessed. The smoke from the crematorium chokes me. The gaze into the My eyes are burning in my head. How did I get here? My life becomes useless. My whole family has been turned into dirt. I’ve seen more deaths in my short life than many have seen in their old age. Consciousness slowly fades and everything darkens I begin to wake up from the terrible nightmare I look around I am alive on the outside but my heart is still broken Even to this day the memories haunt me, choking me at night.
Izzy’s son, Jack Arbeiter, a member of the JCRC’s Holocaust Remembrance Committee, told the winners, “I salute your insight, your compassion and your commitment to amplifying the essential teachings of the Holocaust…J hope you will take the lessons you learned and share with others so that a tragedy like the Holocaust never happens again. I hope you will continue to use your voice to shed light on the injustices around us and to share your knowledge and experience to create a more compassionate world.”
Rick Mann, chairman of the JCRC’s Yom HaShoah Commemoration, told the crowd at the Yom HaShoah rally in Boston: “Blinded by the resurgence of anti-Semitism, some have taken the path of Holocaust denial. Each of us must choose the path of truth and commit to ‘Never Forget’ and ‘Never Again’.
Irv Kempner, President/CEO of NEF MOTL, said the organization is raising money to support scholarships for New England teenagers who want to participate in the March of the Living 2023 in Poland and Israel. The annual educational trip attracts some 10,000 high school students from 50 countries. For more information on MOTL, teen travel allowances and tax-deductible donations, visit www.motlnewengland.org/