The Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and 

Human Rights ​Education of North Carolina 

Holocaust Speakers Bureau 

Notes from students:

Click collage above for a PDF showing a sampling of the many thank you letters sent to Ms. Hauser from Culbreth Middle School students.

"Thank you so very much, Mr. Silbiger, for taking the time to come talk with my 7th graders.  They thoroughly enjoyed hearing your story from you.  They can read all the books they want and watch all the movies they want, but hearing directly from you in person is beyond comparison.  It really brings everything to life for them." To Lex Silbiger from Erin Kellas, 7/8 Social Studies teacher at Smith Middle School in Chapel Hill.  May, 2024.

 “As a Jew living in an age with anti-semitism on the rise, I am grateful for you and other survivors educating people and teaching tolerance through telling your story especially with so few survivors left and some now denying that the Holocaust even happened. Thank you. -T. K.” to Lex Silbiger. from a student at Smith Middle School on May, 2024

"Good Afternoon, I wanted to send an email with extreme gratitude for coming and speaking to the 7th grade students of Culbreth Middle School. After hearing your presentation last year, I knew that you would be a captivating and engaging speaker to have for our students this year. So thank you for responding yes to coming again. Thank you for sticking with me as I clearly made a mistake on the technology front and I want to apologize that I should have been more prepared to make the technology work. I will be better prepared next year, if you choose to come back.
Thank you for your patience, because once you started speaking the students were incredibly engaged on such an important topic. I wanted to express that my team also wanted to thank you for coming in. Lastly, my students wrote some Thank you notes to show their gratitude. Below are some of the ones that I wanted to share with you. Thank you, Mr. Pursel

Dear Ms. Long, Thank you for coming in to speak with us today! It means a lot to take time out of your day to tell us your parents' story. I learned a lot of new things about the Holocaust. I felt like I could feel the pain from your mother when her parents got taken away. I could not imagine me being separated from my parents. I am going to take this experience and share with others what I've learned so we never repeat the future. Thanks again for sharing your story with our school. Yours truly, Phoebe
Dear Ms.Long, My name is Josh. I want to thank you for coming yesterday and sharing your parents' stories with us. I learned some very interesting facts about the Holocaust including the amount of concentration camps that were all around Europe during WWII. Also it was fascinating to hear how your mom preserved and survived through each concentration camp. Furthermore it was fascinating to know that your father also was in concentration camps making bullets. It was amazing to know that even through this hard time your parents found each other. I also learned more about their harsh living conditions in the ghettos and in the concentration camps. Your story made me feel sad because all of these innocent people  died and had to suffer. Although it also made me feel hopeful that because we are learning about the Holocaust we are never gonna repeat it. Yours truly, Josh 

Dear Ms. Long, Thank you so much for coming out yesterday! I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to share your mother’s and father’s story. I found your parent’s story very interesting but also touching. I learned so much about the Holocaust that I didn’t know. I learned more about the impact the Holocaust had on people. It inspired me to think a little deeper into what people have gone through. You taught me more about ghettos, Auschwitz, and more. How you felt like you lived in a “haunted house” when you were younger must have been so hard. When you told us about what happened to your mother on August 7th it really touched my heart. I love the fact that you studied so much to learn what happened in your parent’s history. It helped all of us learn more about the Holocaust so that we don’t repeat it. Thank you again! Sincerely, Kiran

Dear Ms. Long,Thank you for coming to our school to talk about this sad topic. I learned so much from your speech like specific dates that events happened and how devastating it was for your family. The story about your mom when she was separated from her mom really touched me because no one should have to go through that. I will always remember how satisfied I felt when she got reunited even during this hard time. I will tell your moms story to anyone that tries to be antisemitic to let them know this is no joke. I will know to always be resilient through hard times because there will be light on the other side. Sincerely, Amalie

Dear Ms. Long, Thank you so much for coming to our school. I greatly appreciate it, and I learned so much. Your talk was so moving, and I was brought to tears. Thank you for sharing that sentimental story with us. I will be sure to carry it for all my life. 
      Your mother’s video was so truly and deeply touching. I was gripping my friend's hand the entire time, and I just kept thinking how did this happen? How could anyone be that cruel? I honestly can not find an answer. What your family, and many others, faced was horrible and inhumane. I hope something like that never happens again, but sharing stories like these are so critical to preventing it. So I extend my deepest gratitude for coming in and sharing something so raw and emotional. We can not keep hiding from dark truths otherwise they will just happen again. I really do appreciate the time you took to educate us, as well as the conversation that my friends and I had with you afterwards. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart. It was an experience to remember forever. Yours truly, Claire"

"Dear Mr. Moneta,
Thank you so much for sharing your deeply moving and personal story of your parents' experiences during the Holocaust. Your kindness, positivity, and personable approach made their story even more impactful. Your willingness to share such intimate details is not only appreciated but serves as a profound reminder of resilience and hope in the face of adversity. Your words will resonate with us long after today and have touched many people in the room.  Respectfully, Jourdan Patacsil, Camp Lejuene"

"Mark Wygoda thank you so much for an amazing presentation. Since the event has concluded people have been stopping by my office to tell me how much they enjoyed your presentation. Some of the comments I’ve gotten are that it was “the best they have ever attended.” Sir that speaks volumes to your ability to capture your audience with your story telling. The audience was really engaged and had many questions. The staff all loved the presentation and thanked him for coming out and sharing his father's Holocaust history with us.  On behalf of the 35TH Corps Signal Brigade (CSB) Command Team and the 35th CSB Equal Opportunity Office. We truly appreciate Mr. Wygoda’s AMAZING presentation as we honored Holocaust Days of Remembrance on May 08, 2024."

"Mark Wygoda was an excellent speaker and provided interesting details about his father's story. The audience was really engaged and had many questions. The staff all loved the presentation and thanked him for coming out and sharing his father's Holocaust history with us.  On behalf of the Raleigh Military Entrance Processing Station (MPES). We truly appreciate Mr. Wygoda's 

compelling presentation as we honored Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 26, 2024."

"I recently had the honor of meeting Debbie Long, who is a second generation Holocaust survivor and a member of the North Carolina Holocaust Speakers Bureau. Debbie shared her parents' experiences in Auschwitz with my tenth grade students. Her talk was a moving and eye-opening experience that enriched our reading of Art Speigelman's graphic novel, Maus.

During her visit, Debbie spoke about her family's history and parents' story of survival during one of the darkest times in human history. She also left plenty of space for students to ask her questions and process her story–– she approached their thoughts with sincerity and care. Her testimony was a reminder that we must never forget the lessons of the past and that it is our responsibility to ensure that such atrocities are never repeated. Overall, her visit was an experience that I know students will carry with them."
                   --- Rachel Finkelstein -Woods Charter School - Chapel Hill, NC

"On behalf of Rolesville High, I wanted to thank you (Mike Lowder) for your incredibly moving and enlightening presentation yesterday. Your willingness to share your insights with our students left an indelible mark on all of us.

Your presentation not only provided valuable historical context but also served as a poignant reminder of the resilience and strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

We are deeply grateful for your dedication to Holocaust education and are honored to have had the opportunity to learn from you. We are planning to continue this program in the future, and I am looking forward to inviting you to visit us again.
              Thank you, Rebecca Hatcher" (3/21/24)

"Thank you so much for coming to speak to our students at Culbreth Middle School about your mother's experiences during the Holocaust. Your presentation made an enormous impact on our students and staff. After your presentation, many students spoke of how your mother's story enabled them to emotionally connect with an individual who was affected by the horrors of the Holocaust. We so appreciate you sharing your mother's story with our students and answering their questions. We hope that you'll be able to come again in the future.
                   Best regards, Joel Smith & Chris Johnson" - Culbreth Middle School - Chapel Hill, NC

"Mr. Goldberg,
Your presentation on the life of Abe Piasek will undoubtedly be the most memorable class of the semester for me and my students. Your recordings of Abe in his own words and your obvious heartfelt connection to him as a man of incredible courage and warmth made his life feel palpably real for us. Talking about the Holocaust is always a challenge due to the immense horror of the event and the way it is beginning to feel further away, but you managed to bring Abe's experience -- and his humor and joi de vivre -- into our class and our hearts.  You didn't shy away from the difficult topics -- the trauma that Abe carried with him his entire life -- but due to Abe's wisdom, his story is also one of mental fortitude and ultimately, of freedom. I can't thank you enough."
                                           ---Shahar Link (high school teacher at Insight Co-learning Center)

Today in class we read Elie Weisel’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech and discussed the danger of indifference. In every single class period, students referenced your presentation as support for why we cannot remain silent when we see any form of oppression. It was so moving to see how many students were impacted by your words, and I cannot thank you enough for setting the tone for this unit! I look forward to working with you again. Thank you. 
                                             Ashley" -East Chapel Hill High School

"Rose, thank you again so much for coming to speak with our students yesterday. The presentation was tremendous and fantastic conversations followed in classrooms throughout the day as students were eager to learn more and discuss your presentation. I know the 8th grade is eager to head to the Holocaust museum, and will be looking for your dad’s card."
    ---Lulu Brase, Director of Student Life; AEC Coordinator of The O'Neal School (Southern Pines, NC)

"Thank you for inviting us to your temple. The inhumanity of the Holocaust should never be forgotten. Resistance to evil should always be the path we should take. Highlighting the horrors through writing and art is one way in which the message can continue to resonate with the young. At some point in the ceremony, Penny turned to me and said, "Do you know there are people who believe that the Holocaust did not happen?" I replied in the affirmative. However, through your actions this young generation will become enlightened.
                            Shalom.  Terry Prichard" Educator at Green Hope High School in Cary, NC (following attendance at the annual Holocaust Commemoration service with a student poster contest winner)

"There are no words to describe how incredible it was to hear the stories told by Ben Ferencz. on January 31, 2018.  The moderators were wonderful too.  Thank you, Sharon, for all the meaningful work you do in our community and beyond.

I was so touched by Ben's sustained passion and forward-thinking view of the world and the challenges we face.  And especially touched the way he was empowering the students to carry on the fight for “law, not war.”  Just brilliant!
With deep gratitude, Debbie"

"It was wonderful for me as an instructor to hear and read my students' reflections following [Deborah] Long's visit. [They] were fascinated with the sort of investigative work required to piece together your family's experiences. Some likened it as a sort of "cold case" being solved across time, place, perspective, and language. Some students were particularly moved by the glimpses of people's "decency" in a time of such inhumanity. I would add that [my] students took to using the term "2G" in their writing with a respect for the awesome responsibility you and others take up in bearing witness. I join them in that awe and appreciation of your commitment." – Bianka Rhodes Stumpf, Social Sciences Lead Instructor, Central Carolina Community College, Sanford NC

"Thank you [Shelly] so much for taking the time to share your wisdom and insights with us today. The kids (and their teachers) were enlightened and moved by your personal experiences and perspectives. There's not a textbook or website that can replace what you were able to impart to the kids today. We will certainly be in touch next year when a new batch of students begins learning about the time period surrounding the Holocaust." – Lee and the 7th-grade team at The School for Creative Studies, Durham, NC 

"Thanks Sharon, this experience is extremely important to me. I believe that we can learn from our history and that the 'Children are our future!' They will always remember the day they listened to a Holocaust Survivor and they will go forward and be 'the change they wish to see in the world' (Mohandas Gandhi). I am so grateful that you helped us facilitate this wonderful experience." – Shamia Truitt-Martin, Teacher, Carrington Middle School, Durham, NC

"The Holocaust Speakers Bureau gives students the opportunity to interact with living history. It brings their studies of World War 2 and genocide into real life, leaving them with life-long lessons in fortitude, promoting kindness and generosity even in our darkest hours and standing up for those who are oppressed." – Megan Bendson, Teacher, Northern High School, Durham, NC

"Again, thank you so much for bringing Esther to our campus. What a joy and a privilege to have met her. I still feel the impact of her story and her resilience. I have made a donation in her honor, which was more of an honor for me. I will treasure the book and glean from Esther's wisdom. Grace and peace to you all."

– Stephanie P. Freeman, Program Director for Arts and Humanities, North Carolina Central University, Department of Language and Literature

"I wanted to write and say thank you again for the wonderful presentation you gave at the 4-H conference last week. The students were all so incredibly moved by hearing you speak, and I hope you know what an impact your donation of time made in each of their lives. Your story impacted over 150 people that day, and that doesn’t even count the people they will share your story with second hand. I know that positive ripples have spread all over the state of North Carolina based on the message of tolerance, hope and survival you shared. (And my, don’t we need more of that in this world?) I’m sure you are used to being treated like a celebrity, but those kids really did think you were a rock star! I hope I get to see a few of those selfies they were taking with you!" – Christie Hinson Norris, Director of K-12 Outreach, Civic Education Consortium, Program for the Humanities & Human Values, UNC-Chapel Hill

"Mr. Hal Myers' moving presentation to our students at Culbreth Middle School made such an important difference in their understanding of the human dimension of the Holocaust. Mr. Myers shared his and his family's pain, but he also helped students understand their responsibility to always do the right thing--a message that resonated strongly with them. The Holocaust Speakers Bureau was very helpful in enabling this presentation. I am so grateful to Mr. Myers for his willingness to share his experiences, and to the Holocaust Speakers Bureau for making it possible for my students and others to learn first hand about this terrible period in history." – Joel Smith, 7th Grade Social Studies teacher, Culbreth Middle School, Chapel Hill, NC

"By being able to ask Mrs. Lederman questions and talking with her, gave me greater compassion and sensitivity to what she endured and how she survived. Mrs. Lederman donated her time as well as ten of her memoirs and was very pleased to answer the questions the students ask. She truly embodies NCCU’s motto of 'truth in service'." – Bridget Clark, North Carolina Central University Student

"This program was truly life changing. I loved every minute of it. Thanks, Rachelle, for your foresight and hard work in bringing this gem to our campus." – Stephanie P. Freeman, Humanities Program Coordinator, North Carolina Central University 

"I cannot tell you how much today’s program impacted me and, it appeared, the audience. Mrs. Lederman is an inspiration, a ray of hope, in a world too often filled with hate. Thank you so very much for organizing this program about the Mrs. Lederman’s experience surviving the Holocaust." – Sharon L. Spencer, Professor, North Carolina Central University School of Education

"Thank you again for this very valuable, enriching, and timely experience with Mrs. Lederman. It has touched me deeply and moved me even more towards advocacy and standing up for issues of social, political, and human rights and justice in our world." – Josephine Leak Harris, Mentoring and Pre-Induction Program Coordinator, University Supervisor for Middle Grades Education Student Teachers, North Carolina Central University School of Education​

​"Hal and Sharon, I enjoyed the evening very much and was so thankful to be part of the group. The stories that Hal and Nick shared were touching and I will always remember that special evening. Great thanks to you for making events like these possible." – Carolin Roberts, student at Resurrection Lutheran School, Cary, NC

"I was very impressed by all the stories I heard from Mr. Myers that evening. I learned a lot about history and will always remember it." – Ali Roberts, student at Resurrection Lutheran School, Cary, NC

​A sampling of thank you notes to Steve Goldberg who met with 5th and 6th grade students at the Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy in Charlotte on November 16, 2023.:

  • "Thank you for taking the time to teach my grade and I about Abe Piasek. I really liked your presentation and could see you put in a lot of time and effort into it. I liked Abe’s story and support him. I really appreciate what you do to spread the story about Abe. Before your presentation, I did not know the Holocaust was a thing in history and had no idea about it. Thank you for teaching me about the Holocaust."

  • "thank you so much for taking the time to share with our school about Abe. He seemed like a very nice person so brave and smart, And it's amazing you got to know him, The topic about the holocaust is a very sad and emotional matter and I feel for Abe and all those people who had to suffer just because they were Jewish, and I really appreciate people like you because you know what happened to Abe and the time and effort you take just so his story is heard. This makes you a one of a kind amazing person. Something that stood out to me in your presentation was the cable cars. I had no idea that it was only meant for ten people at max, and over 80 people were forced into that tiny cable car for me this was very shocking and sad."

  • "Thank you for talking to us about Abe Piasek. You did a great job telling the stories. It was as if Abe was right there in front of us talking about it. His stories were very intriguing and sorrowful at the same time. I still feel the pain in my heart of the murder of so many people. It was such a horrible thing for Abe to go through when he was still a small child."

  • "Almost the same kind of thing as the Holocaust happened in my religion. There was a Genocide and it occured in 1984 and my dad, my dad’s brother, my Grandparents, and everyone else in my family were survivors. Hindus and Muslims were trying to convert Sikhs to their religion. Sikhs refused to let them turn us to their religion, So the Hindus and Muslims were told by the Prime Minister of India to kill every Sikh that they see and to do it in a harsh way that Sikhs will be afraid of them. They were told to put oil on them and light them up with fire while they were still alive so that they can experience the pain happening. Even after all of this, Sikhs did not convert - staying true and devoted to their religion. This reminded me of the story of where Abe’s friend got shot in the head by the German Soldiers just because they were Jewish."

  • "One message I can take away from this presentation is to not hate, not be a bystander, and to always look on the bright side. I will (and do) look on the bright side and not hate anyone, just ignore them. One question I have is why Abe chose to be a baker. Thank you for arranging this and making the presentation.

More Middle School kids' notes to Mr. Goldberg can be found here. 

Testimonials from our audiences