Holocaust survivor speaks to YCS students

Staff report


Holocaust survivor Leo Silberman spoke to students at Youngstown Christian School last month, recounting his experiences from 1941 to 1945.

Silberman survived several slave-labor camps and concentration camps, including Plaschow, Buchenwald and Terezenstadt.

After liberation, Silberman was sent to a displaced-persons camp in Germany where he met his future wife, Paula.

In 1949, he sailed to America and settled in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He then moved to Cleveland in 1951 where Paula had settled with her family.

Silberman came to speak with the students as part of The International Book Sharing Project where students partner with a school in Israel and speak with Israeli students.

The project focuses on young-adult literature surrounding the Holocaust where students read and discuss a novel with students from Israel.

The Jewish Community Center has funded the school’s partnership in the program, and it gave Youngstown Christian School students the opportunity to hear the story of the Holocaust from an actual survivor.

After his presentation, Silberman answered questions from the students. When asked how it changed his life, he replied, “It taught me to be kind to others and help those in need.”

He also explained how silently praying to God helped him keep faith and survive the imprisonment. Forgiveness, kindness and grace are all values Silberman embraces from his experiences.

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