Today the first class was a special one for the those of us known as the Hamburg group. Serena, Giulia,Trisha, Sarah, Leo, Giovanni, Emilio, Alberto,Andrea and Gabry Another group of classmates sat to listen and take notes. It was moving to hear Tatiana and her mum. We all got the chance to ask one or more questions. We wanted to give them both a big hug and although we know it is very painful to talk about the tragic story the Perlow family went through we really hope to give Andra a big hug. Emilio dared to ask Andra to have dinner with us on January 12 when she comes to Messina but she said she doesn’t know what schedule she and her sister have got. We want to meet Sergio’s cousins becuse they were in Birkenau 11 with all the other children who Mengele chose for the Neuengamme expiriments. On Wednesday,Giovanni, Emilio and Andrea went to the Public Library and read three poems from our teacher’s book. We spoke about Marek James, Eduard Hornemann and W.Junglieb. We said how big is our bond with the twenty children. It would be nice to be in the Palacultura with students from other schools. Messina will never have such an opportunity.
Students from Messina have had the opportunity of meeting Mark James through skype twice in 2013. They have met Mario de Simone last March when he came to school as a guest. On December 19th they will be talking with Tatiana Pezzoni. When she went with Sergio’s mother to Hamburg she was 19. Her mum was in Birkenau 11 with her sister and they both survived because they didn’t step forward.
As we have heard the project is doing great progress. Well done everybody in Messina, Eindhoven, Radom, Hamburg and Paris!
France: Anne told us: On the 4th of december Françoise Morgenstern (cousin of Jacqueline Morgenstern) visited the school and the students. And it was quite emotional for all of them.
Poland: Anna writes: „We have been doing some research in our local archives and we’ve been sucessful in finding out some details about some of the children and their parents who lived in Radom. We have taken some photos. The kids have been really busy in the last few weeks with their studies. We are planning to use the information gathered to prepare a series of lectures and invite other schools to attend them.“
On November 26th the students involved in the youth exchange project held a ceremony at school. It was in a classroom because the twenty children were deprived of learning while staying in the ghetto, in Birkenau and in Neuengamme, Students set the table. On a linen cross-stitched tablecloth especially made by Professor Lazzaro for the occasion students prepared for twenty with colourful designer paper plates, napkins and cups. Each set included a child’s name bookmark, an exclusive embroidered butterfly, representing their short life, a crochet white rose, representing their innocence and a little painted heart representing our hug to each child. Once the table was set students ate bread and meat sitting at the table because in concentration camps the children could never have a real meal, On a desk students put a Menorah, an old desk calendar with the day and month the children were killed just behind a bottle of wine called 1945 to mark the year the tragedy occurred. There was also a kirigami butterfly especially made for the conference given in Uppsala by Professor Lazzaro in 2013, The ceremony marked the day the children were chosen by Mengele and since in Messina we wanted to remember Sergio’s birthday which occurs on the 29th, one of the stiudents‘ mother prepared a cake with the anniversary design.Another mother presented to the Professor twenty cross stitched butterflies. The ceremony was also attended by special guests, Chiara Leo and Maestro Piero Blanca who played the violin and the piano. They played the theme La vita è bella and Schindler’s List. The students presented also their suitcases to honor the children and also their interpretation of some poems.