Linda Golden, Rock Island, Illinois
Dear Mrs. Liebster,
I am writing to thank you for visiting our school via Skype. The excitement of going to France, if only vicariously, was quite an adventure. More importantly, your willingness to share your painful memories of persecution during World War II was extremely generous. It had a tremendous impact on my students in a way that just reading about the Holocaust does not have. I think that the students now have put a real human face on a horror that we must be vigilant never to repeat.
I am also grateful to Mrs. Milakovich and the Liebster Foundation for arranging this life-changing experience for our school. We want you to feel that you remain in our hearts as an honorary teacher at our school.
Social Studies Teacher
Thurgood Marshall Learning Center
Rock Island, IL 61201
December 12, 2011
Michael Clair, Asheville, North Carolina
To whom it may concern,
I would like to thank Simone Liebster and the Arnold Liebster Foundation for providing a valuable learning experience that many of our students will remember for the rest of their lives. On Tuesday May 24th, 2011, I had the joy of observing a library full of sixth graders absorbing every word as Simone answered student questions from halfway across the world in France. Teachers always enjoy a chance to sit back and observe students engaged and focused on an issue that is significant, yet often removed from their lives. Simone Liebster’s resilience, conviction, and humanity are qualities that many of our sixth graders here at Erwin Middle will value as they continue their transition into adulthood.
The Arnold Liebster Foundation provided resources that helped connect students to Simone’s story in a way that allowed them to understand the depth of her struggle. In addition to an amazing lesson outline, the site abounds with documents and first hand accounts that help convey the severity of persecution during the Holocaust era. My students were able to understand the impact of these injustices on a level that reflected a deeper level of thinking that is only brought on when students are intrinsically invested in what they are learning about. Each of my students wrote a letter to Simone with thoughts and questions about her life; I found these letters to be profound examples of just how these students were touched by Simone’s story. Several student letters have been forwarded on to the Arnold Liebster Foundation in hopes that Simone may one day hear from the students that she has had such a meaningful impact on. Thank you to Simone and everyone who helped provide this memorable experience for all of us here at Erwin Middle. May you continue to spread a message of peace love, and understanding!
6th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher
Clyde A. Erwin Middle School
20 Erwin Hills Road
Asheville, NC 28806
June 13, 2010
Chris Nay, Salina, Kansas
To whom it may concern,
My 6th grade advanced English class completed a unit on the Holocaust in May, 2011. They were quite interested in the strength of the people and questioned frequently how they were able to keep their strength and faith when staring death in the face. Two of my students, Jordan and Mary Crumpton, were doing some individual research when they discovered your site. They were quite impressed and brought it to my attention immediately. After closely looking at the links, I contacted the foundation in hopes of furthering my students’ studies on the Holocaust.
Mrs. Milakovach was most helpful and even sent me a unit binder to help with extension activities. She frequently e-mailed me, and she was a wonderful source of information. When I asked about the possibility of speaking with a primary source that could relate their personal journey, she was most helpful. Having the opportunity to prepare my students for a video conference with Ms. Simone was a journey we, as a class, were excited to take.
My students spent five days researching, reading, and discussing information that would extend their basic knowledge about the Holocaust. The time came to have the video conference with Ms. Simone, and my students were brimming with excitement. They prepared a list of questions pertaining to her personal story and strength, and she clearly and honestly answered each one. At no time did my students feel that the conference turned into a religious discussion; furthermore, it gave them valuable insight into why it is important to have a voice and stand firm in your personal beliefs.
I intend to work with the foundation next year. Should you be considering whether or not this opportunity is right for you and your classroom, think no further. I highly recommend that students, teachers, and even parents are given the chance to work with the foundation and speak with Ms. Simone.
Lakewood Middle School
1135 Lakewood Circle
Salina, Kansas 67401
May 18, 2011
Tara Ulmer, Fort Wayne, Indiana
To whom it may concern,
Students and staff at Imagine Master Academy in Fort Wayne, IN, were privileged to work with the Arnold-Liebster Foundation. Interviewing Simone transcended anything textbooks, videos, and lesson plans can teach students about the Holocaust; our conversation went beyond historical events and touched upon tolerance, human rights, personal responsibilities, and character development.
The curriculum provided is a great supplemental resource that shares the plight of Jehovah’s Witness’ during WWII. An 8th grade student shared her experience by stating,
Being able to participate in a Skype conference with Simone Liebster was an amazing opportunity for our whole eighth grade class. It really made me think about how much strength and courage it must have taken for Simone to stay faithful and keep her head up through the Holocaust. Learning about Simone’s experiences was very interesting and made me realize how easy we have it now. I can’t imagine going through some of the things she went through, and I don’t think I would have been able to stay as strong as she did.
As a Peace Corps volunteer in Romania, I listened as gypsies shared their family histories, and I learned about a group that had never been included in my previous study of the Holocaust. Like the gypsies, Jehovah’s Witness’ are a persecuted group often omitted from Holocaust units, and the information provided by the Arnold-Liebster Foundation was invaluable to providing a well-rounded historical lesson for me and my students.
Thank you to Simone, the Arnold-Liebster Foundation, Sandra Milakovich, and Mr. & Mrs. Keller for giving us an unforgettable experience and a wonderful culminating activity for our Holocaust unit!
8th grade Social Studies Teacher
Imagine Master Academy
2000 N. Wells Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46808
March 10, 2011
Peace Corps Romania (2008-2010)