When Tobias Rawet*, Holocaust survivor, spoke we all listened.
On Tuesday, April 29, Mr. Rawet visited VRG to share his powerful story. He is 78 years old. He has dedicated his life to sharing the “real” story of the Holocaust. He spoke for 90 minutes straight without looking at a single note or reminder. He shared the events of his childhood as he remembered and as he has since studied. He could recite dates and specifics, share emotions and vivid images.
As a Polish immigrant to Sweden in the years after the war, he could also speak about the religious and social freedoms we share in Sweden. He was genuinely grateful for the life he has lived in Sweden. From his honest perspective of what horrors the world can show a child to what joys can be experienced in life, he challenged the students to remember his story when they considered:
-“What can happen if we don’t have democracy active in our society?”
-“What can happen if all people don’t have equal value in our society?”
Mr. Rawet left us all with a simple challenge, to avoid anything like the Holocaust every happening again,
“Work for Tolerance, Work for Respect, Don’t let your guard down … It is your and your kids’ future we are talking about …”
Following his 90 minute presentation, students were allowed to ask questions. Mr. Rawet sat on a chair at the front of our auditorium and answered every one. He was candid and funny, serious and happy. Some students even stayed on after the 2 hours were over to take “selfies” with Mr. Rawet and to thank him personally for taking the time to visit our school.
What an inspiration – Thank you so much Tobias!
You can see a filmed version of his story here>> (compliments of URplay)
*Mr. Rawet works for The Association of Holocaust Survivors.