Tools

Holocaust survivor speaks to Poland Central School students

By WKTV News

(WKTV) - If you're from the Mohawk Valley, you've no doubt heard Helen Sperling speak.

On Monday, a new generation of students had the honor of welcoming the Holocaust survivor into their school.

Sperling is 93 years old now, and very much in tune to the fifth and sixth graders she spoke to at Poland Central School District. The speech was an emotional two-hour experience for both the kids and Sperling, who told the story of losing her whole family to Nazi concentration camps.

One of the takeaways of Sperling's message: Never say "I can't."

"When I talk to the kids, I am trying to make them believe in themselves," Sperling said. "Don't make the mistakes I made when I was their age. ... I want them to appreciate what they have, because they don't appreciate it."

Sperling says one of the tragedies of the Holocaust was that people just stood by and watched. On Monday, she brought bracelets to the students that read "Thou shall not be a bystander."

Holocaust Remembrance Day is April 27. 

What's On