Holocaust Survivor Challenges Students to Use Their Influence for Good

Nia Hendricks
Speaker, author, and Holocaust survivor, Mr. Allan J. Hall, visited Calvary Christian Academy to share his story with high school students.

There are 195,000 registered survivors listed by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. It is estimated that only half are still alive today.

Walking the aisles of an intimate library area seated with fifty Calvary Christian Academy high school students on May 13, 2019, Mr. Allan J. Hall painted a picture of what a childhood in Nazi-occupied Poland was like.

Mr. Hall is one of the few survivors who lives on today to tell his story of suffering, survival, and healing. 
Nobody grows up without some degree of trauma.
Mr. Hall shared how psychologists and mental health professionals helped him on his journey of healing post-WWII. He encouraged students experiencing anxiety or depression to seek professional help.

“Nobody grows up without some degree of trauma,” he said. “Don’t endure it. Go see a counselor. Go see someone who can help.” Listening to his story, it’s amazing to see his compassion for young people who will likely never experience the level of trauma he endured.

Still, his words ring true. Everyone in this life experiences pain. Some more than others. This can lead us to become bitter or to become better. We cannot always control what happens to us, but with the proper support and knowledge of God’s love, we can control how we respond.

Born in Krakow, Poland in 1935, Mr. Hall was four years old when he and his parents abandoned their home, wealth, and family to walk almost 200 miles to escape the encroaching German occupation.

As he shared his recollections, Mr. Hall would pause and graciously encourage the teenagers to ask questions. Intertwined within his stories were greater perspectives on humanity, morality, and the future of America.
We all have a responsibility to learn from the past to create a safer world for the future.
Mr. Hall solemnly asked the students if they believed something like the Holocaust could happen again, could happen here. “A lot of people would claim they didn’t know what was being done [to Jews]. But you couldn’t have not known...people chose to ignore it.”

In his fascinating memoir, Hiding In Plain Sight, he shares, “When I came to the United States as a twelve-year-old, no one wanted to hear about the horrors I experienced.” The students all had an opportunity to read the memoir before Mr. Halls visit. A grandfather of four, he speaks at schools across the country in an effort to educate young people on the harm fear mongering and racism can do.

“Once bad guys get control, nobody is safe. You’re a year or two or three from being able to vote. If you don’t vote — if you're too busy — you’re risking your life.”

As he shared his story, it was clear that we all have a responsibility to learn from the past to create a safer world for the future. As Christians, we can rely on God to direct us as we seek Him.

Looking to John 13:34-35 is a good place to start, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
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