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Holocaust survivor spreads message to Saskatoon students

SASKATOON – Lessons can be learned in a classroom, but few lessons can make a group of 500 Saskatoon teens go silent the way this one did.

“The only way out is through starvation or beatings. We were given tattooed numbers, striped outfits, we were slave labourers. We marched down the road to Auschwitz 1,” Max Eisen, a Holocaust survivor, told students on Thursday morning.

For more than 20 years, members of Saskatoon’s Jewish community organize The March of the Living. Students are invited to walk in commemoration of the Holocaust. For the first time ever in Saskatoon, students from Catholic, Misbah and Public schools were all in attendance. The day hit home with each of them including Adam Leik.

Leik is from Warman, in Grade 12 and says the history of the Holocaust is eye opening, making “you appreciate what you have when you hear what’s been taken away from others.”

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Eisen’s 20 minute speech was filled with big life lessons which he was able to make understandable for the students, relating his experience back to something the teenagers are more familiar with, telling them “this was a case of bullying on a very large scale” and asking them to do what they know is right  “when you see bullying, against a student, stand up, never be a bystander.”

There will be a memorial service at the Agudas Israel Synagogue, 715 McKinnon Avenue, on Sunday April 28th at 1:30. Max Eisen is the keynote speaker and the event is open to the public.