New London High School students Kirshon Augmon, Lillian James, Kelly Pena, and J. Hunter Roman are participants in this year’s Encountering Survivors program, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Southeastern Connecticut.
The students prepared for the program, which seeks to connect students with Holocaust survivors and their relatives, by researching the life of Sigmund Strochlitz, a local businessman and Holocaust survivor. Linda Christensen, director of the Holocaust Research Center, conducted an after-school session on interviewing and research skills with the group. Then, with their newly acquired skills, students conducted three interviews with Mr. Strochlitz’s daughter, Romana Strochlitz-Primus, learning first-hand a family’s account of life in Europe before, during and after the Holocaust.
A central goal of the Center is to help students draw lessons of civic involvement and responsibility from the unique horror of the Nazi genocide and to tie that learning into current genocides around the world. Local schools have participated in programs such as “Encountering Survivors”where small groups of students visit the homes of Holocaust survivors and work together to create a program to share with their schools and the region.
Student and teacher participants come from Norwich Free Academy, Bacon Academy, New London High School, Fitch High School, Ledyard High School, and Leonard J. Tyl Middle School in Montville. Survivors and children of survivors participants include Henny Simon, Rae Gawendo, Oleg Elperin, Romana Strochlitz Primus, Edie Kil Freeman, and Dr. Stephen Powell.