Middle School Students Read Names of Holocaust Victims - Kingswood Oxford

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April 27, 2023

Middle School Students Read Names of Holocaust Victims

Several Middle School students, faculty, and staff read the names of the victims of the Holocaust at the Jewish Community Center in West Hartford for Yom Hashoa. It was a solemn occasion, and following the reading, the students lit candles for those who perished. Many of the KO students were struck by the ages of the victims, many of them very young children who never had the opportunity to live their lives. The students that attended the reading included: Dylan Albert, Logan Barash, Jude Bauman, Ella Cipriano, Ben Friedman, Valerie Perkins, Noah Sadowsky, Noa Taback, Anna Wildstein, and Upper School student Alyssa Tempkin.


Ella Cipriano, Noa Taback, and Logan Barash felt it was essential to be part of the reading at the JCC. “My mom had done it in past years, and I thought it would be important if I did it, too,” Barash said. “I felt an obligation to do it because some of my family on my mom’s side died in the Holocaust.” Barash said he will receive his bar mitzvah in two weeks, and participating in the memorial felt more meaningful to him now.”

Middle School students at Kingswood Oxford in West Hartford read names of Holocaust victims

“My great-grandfather was in the Holocaust, and that’s where he met his wife in the concentration camps,” Taback said. “That’s something that’s always stuck with me. It was important for me to remember him and the Holocaust. He always talked about his love for his wife, and they got through it together.”


“The number of Holocaust survivors is dwindling, and it’s important to keep their legacy and memories alive,” Cipriano said. “A lot of people want to say the Holocaust didn’t happen. But to go to the reading of the names and see the peoples’ names and ages, you’re not generalizing that six million people died. You’re giving these six million people names. They were real people, not just figments of someone’s imagination.”


This is the second year the students also held a Middle School assembly on anti-Semetism and the Holocaust. The students thought it could be a tradition yearly, but this year they felt it was especially pertinent due to Kanye West’s anti-Semetic comments. Several students researched the roots of anti-Semetism and shared with their audience the trials the Jewish people have undergone throughout history, from Roman, medieval, and modern times as well as famous people who were anti-Semetic, like Roal Dahl. Just last year, the students shared, anti-Semitic pamphlets were distributed in Connecticut.


“It’s important to educate people on anti-Semitism,” Cipriano said. “People think slavery is over, but that doesn’t mean Black people aren’t oppressed. Just because the Holocaust is over doesn’t mean the Jewish people aren’t oppressed. It’s still happening, but it might be subtle.”

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