Aaron Hostetler Staff Writer
On Sept. 18. Eastern was proud to host guest speaker Marion Blumenthal Lazan. Marion is a survivor of the tragic events of the holocaust that occurred during the second World War, and has come to share her experiences and fascinating life story to the students of Eastern. The accounts of her own experiences depict an inspiring story of hope and determination that needs to be recognized for years to come.
Marion was born in Bremen, Germany in 1935. She lived with her father, mother, and her brother Albert. When the war broke out, her family managed to get to Holland safely. They had plans to escape to America in 1940, but were taken by the Nazis before they could depart. Marion and her mother were then separated from her father and brother. For the next six years, Marion and her family lived in the atrocious conditions of various concentration camps like Westerbork in Holland, and Bergen-Belsen in Germany. They were forced to live through harsh environments, that exposed them to starvation, death, disease, and the most unsanitary living conditions. Marion remembers receiving only one piece of bread per day (and sometimes per week), and being exposed to the foul odors of the camps. Her mother Ruth and her were also crammed into bunks with 600 people, in living quarters that were meant to hold 100.
However, through miraculous circumstances, Marion’s whole family survived and were liberated from the camps. Unfortunately, her father Walter caught typhus, and passed away shortly after being freed. In 1948, Marion and her family came to the United States. Marion pursued an education, and graduated Peoria Central High School in Illinois, ranking 8 out of 267 students in her class. She later attended Bradley University, and worked in the medical field. In 1979, Marion began to publicly speak about her childhood experiences, and in 1996, she published her memoirs in a book called Four Perfect Pebbles. She now lives in Hewlett New York with her husband Nathaniel. They have 3 married children, 9 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.
Many Eastern Students attended the event to hear Marion speak, and were very interested to hear her life story. Firsthand accounts such as these will always be very relevant in our society. It is important to listen to the experiences of holocaust survivors like Marion, so that we can gain insight about one of the darkest chapters in human history.
Marion was enthusiastic to explain her experiences and is genuinely appreciative that so many people came to her event. She hopes that her message will serve as an inspiration to future generations. “I am always grateful to be given the opportunity to share the story – simply because today’s young people are the last generation to hear the story firsthand. Be kind and gentle towards one another – That is the path to peace.” says Marion.