On the afternoon prior to Yom HaShoah, Izzy Juda, a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor, took to the podium at Epstein Hillel School to share his experiences with students, faculty, and staff. The great-grandfather of 1st and 5th-grade EHS sisters presented the community with an honest, moving, and deeply personal telling of his story.
From his experience as a young teenager in Vienna to his journey to Switzerland and, ultimately the States, his life is a remarkable story of bravery, perseverance, and a little bit of luck. He told of being on a train that stopped for reasons he still cannot explain. Thinking quickly, he jumped from the concentration campbound train. Then, with the help of a local farmer who sheltered and fed him, he made his way to a border crossing in the Swiss Alps where he climbed his way to freedom.
EHS students listened with rapt attention and respect as Mr. Juda, with his sweet and kind nature, answered their thoughtful questions and reminded them of two important things: “Never let anyone tell you it didn’t happen and never, ever lose hope.”