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Holocaust survivor shares story of hope with NEISD

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said LEE teacher Daniel Nicholas. “It’s something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.”


2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of concentration camps across Europe. Holocaust survivors have shared their stories with the world for decades, but opportunities to hear about their experience in person have become even more rare in recent years. At 92, Rose Sherman Williams is still sharing her story with students, families and community members across North East ISD and all of San Antonio.


German forces invaded Rose’s hometown in Poland when she was 12-years-old. She spent the next six years fighting for her life in concentration camps and ghettos, surviving brutal conditions in Auschwitz and a harrowing encounter with Dr. Josef Mengele, the ‘Angel of Death.’ While her story is horrific, Rose's message is one of faith and love and will leave the audience with hope and inspiration. 


Williams is halfway through her tour of every NEISD high school. She’s sharing excerpts from her memoir, Letters to Rose, with hundreds of people at every stop with the help of co-authors Rebecca Hoag and Robin Philbrick. Daniel Nicholas was in the audience at LEE High School on Wednesday, January 8. Nicholas says he felt compelled to attend because opportunities to hear about the Holocaust from survivors will soon run out.   


“At her age, it’s incredible to hear about the devastation that she lived through and for her to tell her story, it’s something that everyone needs to hear,” said Nicholas. “I think it’s a great community service the District is providing. It’s a community event and an awesome opportunity for the public to experience.”


Co-author Robin Philbrick is a former NEISD English teacher. She used to invite Rose to speak to her English classes at Johnson High School and gave them an assignment to write a letter to Rose describing the impact her story left on them. Letters from some of Philbrick’s students are included in Letters to Rose


If you’re interested in hearing Rose Sherman Williams tell her story, she will be at five more NEISD campuses in the coming months.


Roosevelt High School: Wednesday, January 29 at 6:30 pm


Madison High School: Wednesday, February 19 at 6:30 pm


Churchill High School: Tuesday, February 25 at 7:00 pm 


Bradley Middle School: Thursday, March 5 at 6:00 pm


MacArthur High School: Monday, March 16 at 6:30 pm


Click here to learn more about Letters to Rose. The memoir is also available at all major booksellers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Target.


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Posted by Lila Stanley
Posted on 1-9-20