Rabbi Philip Lazowski inspires KO students

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Enriching class discussion, Holocaust survivor Rabbi Philip Lazowski attended KO’s International Human Rights class on Jan. 15, at 2:00 p.m.

As a witness of the atrocities of the Holocaust, Rabbi Lazowski will never forget what he lived through as a boy.

In 2014, he shared his stories at an assembly to the entire KO student body.

Rabbi Lazowski was born in 1930 in a region of Poland ruled by Communist Russia until 1941. When the Germans invaded his hometown of Bielica, Rabbi Lazowski was separated from his family and had to survive on his own. In 2006, Rabbi Lazowski’s autobiographical account of the Holocaust, “Faith and Destiny,” was published, taking its place next to the several other novels he wrote.

For the past five years, he was instrumental in the Senate’s passing of The Holocaust and Genocide Education and Awareness Act, in his role as a chaplain to the state Senate. The law commenced the teaching of genocides at public schools in Connecticut. The International Human Rights class activity asked questions during Rabbi Lazowski’s stay. Students said they appreciated his contributions to their previous discussions on the Holocaust, other genocides, human rights, and current events.

“I thought the speaker was absolutely amazing,” senior Ayla Schumann said. “I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to hear his stories.”

Junior John Doar agreed that what he had to say was very important.

“I thought he was really inspiring,” he said.“It was incredible that he believed in God while he went through the tragedies of the Holocaust and his faith was so strong.”

Rabbi Lazowski said in order to remember genocides, communities must start spreading awareness.“You have to be able to stand up for justice,” Rabbi Lazowski said.

“After hearing him speak, I think that it is crucial to learn about genocide in school,” Ayla said. “We need to be better. We should never joke about these tragedies, but certainly learn about them and from them.”

While not every student has heard Rabbi Lazowski’s words directly, they still hold crucial meaning to our understanding of survival and remembrance.