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Holocaust survivor tells story, says, “don’t be a bystander”


By Monica Murphy '16 on November 7, 2013

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Wednesday night Holocaust survivor Helen Sperling came to Colgate to share her story and impart some wisdom to the students lucky enough to hear her speak. Sperling recounted her experiences as a young woman in 1939 Poland and described the horrors of living in the Jewish ghettos and two concentration camps. Her inspiring story of survival and liberation left a deep impact with the students, staff, and faculty in attendance. Sperling first brought her story to Colgate 38 years ago and she has returned each year to tell it again. Students and faculty never tire of listening to her moving story and her impactful call to action, her “eleventh commandment”- Thou Shall Not Be a Bystander. The world, Sperling said, has not yet learned its lesson from the Holocaust. She urged all in attendance to go save the world and to not be complacent with the injustice and genocide that still exists in our world today. She ended her talk, as she does each year, with a Hasidic legend which states that 36 hidden righteous people exist in the world on which the fate of the world rests. “You could be one! “ she implored, “Now go save the world!”


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