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Lehigh Acres Middle School to hold Holocaust presentation

April 18, 2018
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Lehigh Acres Middle School's Social Studies Department will host a special presentation by Holocaust survivor Ben Alalouf on Thursday at the school beginning at 6 pm.

The presentation in free and open to the public.

Alalouf was born in 1941 in Skopje, Yugoslavia during the German Nazi invasion of that country. He entered the United States as part of the "Safe Haven Project," the only holocaust refugee camp ever established in this country.

Alalouf will share his experiences during the Holocaust and his emotional journey to the U.S.

"We think it's very important to remember the tragedies that happened during the Holocaust. This genocide should have never happened," said Richard Keast, who teaches Gifted and Advanced U.S. History at Lehigh Middle School.

This is the eighth year Keast has taught history at the school and the third year that his department has hosted a guest speaker who survived the Holocaust and shared their experiences with the students.

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"Each year one of the departments hosts a night. We chose April because it ties in with the national holiday, Holocaust Remembrance Day or, as it's called in Hebrew, Yom Hashoah. There are presently less than 500 survivors left who can share their powerful story of survival," Keast said.

The word Holocaust derives from the Greek words "holos" (whole) and "kaustos" (burned), and was historically used to describe a sacrificial offering. In 1945, the word took on a different meaning under the ruling of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, who ordered the murder of more than 6 million European Jews, gypsies and homosexuals, by the German Nazi regime during the World War II.

The Holocaust was Hitler's "final solution" and came to fruition under the cover of world war, with mass killing centers constructed in the concentration camps of occupied Poland.

According to Keast, this atrocity really hit home with both faculty and students when the school brought over a box car that was actually used to transport people to these concentration camps.

"Last year the school brought up a box car from Naples that was used to carry men, women and children to these camps. You could see the carvings on the walls of the small car. Amazing to see the names and initials etched into this car many years ago," said Keast.

Keast also wanted to give special thanks to the school's Social Studies department head, Miguel Teixiera, for coordinating the speaker for the event.

'We are very pleased to have him come and speak. The kids are really excited too. We expect to have a pretty full house this year," said Keast.

A complimentary spaghetti dinner will be provided for the first 150 people arriving prior to the presentation. The dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. with the presentation beginning at 6:00 p.m. Pizza will be available for $5 whole pizza (must be pre-ordered by April 18). Ice tea and lemonade will be complimentary and soft drinks will be available at $1 each. (must also be pre-ordered by April 18) For more information about the event or to pre-order pizza or drinks, call (239)369-6108.

The school is at 104 Arthur Ave in Lehigh Acres.



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