March 2018 gave students of the School of Dialogue from three localities the opportunity to meet with George Elbaum, a Warsaw-born Holocaust Survivor, the author of “Neither Yesterdays, Nor Tomorrows. Vignettes from the Holocaust” – a special guest of the School of Dialogue Gala 2017.
During the meeting at the John Paul II Primary School No. 3 in Minsk Mazowiecki – School of Dialogue 2015 (then known as John Paul II Junior High School No. 2), students gathered to listen to the personal story of their guest – his birth in pre-war Warsaw, the loss of his father, an officer of the Polish army, search for a hiding place outside the ghetto in villages near Warsaw, post-war life with his mother in devastated Poland, up until their departure to the United States at the age of 11 and the decade of struggle with the memories of the Holocaust.
The meeting moved the audience and inspired a spontaneous speech by the school principal, Mr. Grzegorz Wyszogrodzki. He asked the gathered students to share the story with their loved ones. He underlined that the students can have impact to change the world as they decide with their hearts and not based on financial or personal benefits – as adults often do. He asked the students to think about whether they would be brave enough to take an innocent child under their roof targeted by the persecutors because of its origin. He also said that had the history of mankind been less tragic, there would be Jerzy, “our Jurek” and not George, standing before them. The words of the principal made a huge impression on the guest, and the students lined up to have their copy of George Elbaum’s book signed.