Grade 8 students recently gathered to hear the lived experience of Holocaust survivor Janet Singer Applefield. As part of their Facing History and Ourselves course, this class offered students the opportunity to witness the tangible reality of their year of studies.

A child survivor of the Holocaust, Applefield shared her story with the attentive class, from her family’s separation, to her experiences in temporary home after temporary home, to her eventual reconnecting with her father, and their new start in America.

After her story, the class had the opportunity for questions, among which included queries regarding Applefield’s relationship with her Jewish identity, how she persevered emotionally in such times of hardship, and what she took away from the experience.

“Even the smallest act of kindness,” she said, “has a ripple effect, and it’s important to think about the choices and decisions that you make— that we all make.”

Considering the class of young faces before her, Applefield left them with this important reminder: “I know that when I’m no longer here,” she said, “my story will still be told. I’m a witness, and now all of you are witnesses.”

This year marked the publication of Applefield’s book of her life experience, Becoming Janet: Finding Myself in the Holocaust.