Third Annual Adopt-A-Survivor Event


Dominion Yearbook

Jacques Wagschal spoke to students about his experience with the Holocaust.

On Tuesday, February 18th, the Jewish Student Union (JSU) held its third annual Adopt-A-Survivor Event. Adopt-A-Survivor is a program in which students have the opportunity to hear the story of a survivor from them personally, and have the ability to ask them questions about their experience with the Holocaust. The goal of the program is to continue to pass on the stories of the survivors so that the tragedies of the Holocaust will never be forgotten. 

After the event, students take a pledge on a database that lets the student adopt that survivor’s story so that they can continue to share it and remember the events that took place. JSU also gave each student a memorial candle with the intention that the students light the candle on Yom Hashoah and International Holocaust Rememberance Day to remember those affected by the Holocaust.

There were three survivor’s that attended the event to tell their story: Jacques Wagschal, Marysia Rozenszajn, and Joel Nommick. Co-President of JSU, Lauren Shackelford, said, “Holocaust education is very important because people don’t realize how serious it actually is.” She added, “People sort of view it as something in the past now and they forget about it, but there’s a lot of people who will continue today to make anti-semetic remarks and joke about this horrible event.”

JSU member, Jacob Wesoky, said, “It’s really important that we tell the stories, because as an American Jew, I’ve witnessed anti-semitism whether it’s swastikas carved in bathroom stalls or stuff like that. So anti-semitism definitely still exists.” 

Dominion Yearbook
Joel Nommick also shared his story to students in the auditorium.

JSU sponsor, Mrs. Korsen, said, “By learning from such an event, of such magnitude, we can learn to look for warning signs [and] we can learn to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

A recurring theme throughout the event was to treat others with kindness and get to know one another no matter what your beliefs may be. On this matter, Wesoky said, “Think for yourself, don’t give in to stereotypes [and] don’t give into [the] discriminatory beliefs of others.”  

Mrs. Korsen added in regards to the event, “The nature of this by all the collaboration we do to put it together, shows how much more we can do together as opposed to individually.” 

This year, the French exchange students, upper level French and German students, an AP Spanish class, and Mrs. Korsen’s ninth grade English class were all invited to participate. Compared to last year’s event, it was a much larger and diverse crowd. 

The survivors continued to emphasize the idea of kindness to the students. Survivor Jack Wagschal said, “Kindness is worth more than anger.” He also said, “Forgive but don’t forget.”