Holocaust Remembrance Day

For the past 17 years, the eighth-grade students at Islip Middle School have set aside one day in May to pay respects to the lives affected during World War II.

During their Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was organized by social studies teacher Michael Argenziano, the students viewed the Theatre Three production “From the Fires: Voices of the Holocaust” and welcomed Holocaust survivor Werner Reich. According to the Theatre Three website, “From the Fires” tells the story of Berlin teenager Rachel Gold and her experiences from 1937 to 1945.

Mr. Reich spoke on the atrocities of World War II and used the lessons of the Holocaust to fight intolerance and bullying. During his visit, Mr. Reich discussed his experiences during World War II, including his emigration from Germany to Yugoslavia, two years spent in hiding, two years in the concentration camps of Theresienstadt, Birkenau and Auschwitz, and a death march to Mauthausen.

“Today is a great lesson about tolerance,” said Mr. Argenziano. “Mr. Reich’s message is powerful. Hearing his story makes the Holocaust real for the students. It’s no longer something they’re reading in textbooks or hearing their teachers speak about.”