Recently, I was able to drive for a field trip to the Florida Holocaust Museum in downtown St. Petersburg. I drove a car full of 10 and 11 year olds to the museum. We sat and were introduced to the museum as a group before being split into small groups to go though the museum with docents. The museum is designed for the admitted to identify and feel close to the stories and pictures within the museum. It is somber, heart wrenching and educational all at the same time. There are so many small details and interesting facts that we learned in our short tour of the museum. In fact, I had always wondered why the entry ways were triangled and this was even explained. At the completion of our tour we were escorted back to a conference room for a guest speaker.
The guest speaker was Lisl Schick, a Holocaust survivor. It was such a privilege to hear this 89 year old woman speak of her experience as a young child in Vienna, Austria. The turmoil of her youth and the heart wrenching decision her parents made to put her on a train of children into Britain with her younger brother when she was just 11 years old was palatable. As a parent, I can’t imagine the angst her family must have felt sending their children off to a foreign land because they were so scared of what was happening around them. Perhaps the most amazing part of a truly amazing story, was that Mrs. Schick was reunited with her family after 7 years! Her story was moving and captivating.
By telling her story, she told this group of children, they had the opportunity to “bear witness” to her first hand account. This sentiment has stayed with me all day. I’m hoping that this sentiment stays with me forever. It makes me think of being more present in my every day life and to try to be the best version of myself.
Thank you to Lisl Schick, for her story and her resilience to tell her story at 89 years young! And if you haven’t been or didn’t know it existed check out our own piece of history in downtown.