By: Nithya Rajeev
On January 9, the majority of the sophomore English students gathered in C-120 to hear Holocaust survivor Dora A. Sorell speak about her experiences as a young girl and an adult living in that time period in the concentration camps. The speech by the 94-year-old Sorell, who lived in the same town as Elie Weasel, lasted for two hours, and was intended to enhance the students’ knowledge about the Holocaust for the English classes.
Sorell began her lecture by explaining how, at a young age, she had to support her family and work just like any other adult. Since most girls were usually not given much education, Sorell spent much of her time learning how to cook, working at her job in the movie house, or attempting to observe her brothers’ school lessons. However, her whole life changed at age 23, when the Nazis began sending all Jews to the concentration camps. “There were three steps [in the Nazis’ plan]. Separation, transportation, and killing the Jews at the camps,” explained Sorell. Sorell, along with her family, was sent to Auschwitz, one of the most notorious concentration camps, and she described the pain of being separated from her brothers, father, and mother. After living in inhumane conditions for seven months in Auschwitz, and another few months in Weisswasser, Sorell was freed two days before the war ended.
Following the speech, students were encouraged to ask the survivor questions. Everyone was pleasantly surprised to find out that Sorell attended medical school in Romania following liberation, and pursued this interest in New York. Immediately after this, Sorell had copies of her book Letters to Miriam available for sale, and participated in the much-awaited book-signing.
Dora Sorell’s speech about her life during the Holocaust was truly a treat. MSJ thanks her for taking the time to give the Sophomore students this opportunity.
Photos: Nithya Rajeev