Ingersoll students learn about Holocaust from survivor
Posted With Permission of The Daily Ledger
Fifth graders at Ingersoll Middle School learned about groups targeted by the Nazi party during World War ll last Friday and spoke to a Jehovah’s Witness Holocaust survivor.
Marge Fulton, volunteer at Arnold Liebster Foundation, led a presentation on the Holocaust and survivor Simone Arnold Liebster’s story before video chatting with Liebster, who lives in France.
According to Fulton, an estimated 11 to 15 million people were killed during the Holocaust, which is almost equal to the entire population of Illinois.
Fulton explained to the students in Ingersoll’s library that along with the Jewish, others were persecuted for being Polish, having a physical or emotional handicap and being homosexual, as well as opposing Hilter’s [sic] viewpoints and helping those that the Nazis were abusing.
Liebster was a child living in France near the German border when the Nazis came to her region to spread Hilter’s [sic] beliefs.
Liebster and her parents were devoted Jehovah’s Witnesses who refused to conform to the Nazi program and as a result, her parents were sent to concentration camps while Liebster was expelled from school and taken to a juvenile penitentiary home.
While at the institution, Liebster and other children were denied shoes and the ability the [sic] speak and were forced to do labor.
At one point, Liebster went before a judge who told her she can either sign a paper that stated she would become a German citizen or sign a different paper that stated she would keep her own opinion. Liebster chose the later [sic] and persevered through the war.
She now shares her story and spreads her message of peace to people through the US and across Europe.
In addition, Fulton also told students the story of Alfons Heck. Heck was also a child during this time who was brainwashed by Hilter’s (sic) propaganda and eventually joined Hilter’s [sic] Youth.
After the war ended, Fulton said Heck was “tormented” by the things he had done while under Hilter’s [sic] rule. Before his death several years ago, Heck also spoke about the horrors of the Nazi regime.
During the video chat, Liebster said her childhood was peaceful until she was 11. She and her parents knew that the Nazis would soon be coming to their area after receiving Nazi program material. Liebster notes that this helped mentally prepare her for the injustice that was about to come.
“We knew that as soon as the Germans came over, they would be after us,” Liebster added.
Liebster said that while she could have avoided some of the abuse by pretending to agree with the Nazi party, she knew it would eventually damage her conscience.
“For sure, it would have been easier until you wake up and see what you have done,” Liebster added.
From Liebster’s story comes a lesson of avoiding violence and peer pressure by acting with love and standing up for your beliefs.
Liebster said she now has a happy life in which she is surrounded by true friends.
After video chatting with Liebster, children had the chance to ask Fulton questions about the Holocaust.