2014 Second Place Winner

By: Mariss Price

My Grandparents were very simple people. They didn’t need much and seemed content with what they had. They always stressed the importance of education and never spent money unnecessarily. They rarely spoke about their experience in the Holocaust until I started pressing them with questions as I began to learn about it in school.

My Grandparents weren’t like other Grandparents. I would hear children at school talking about how their Grandma took them shopping or how they went to the Cubs game with their Grandpa, but I never did any of that with my Grandparents. We would visit them Saturday afternoons and walk to the park near their house on sunny days. It was all I knew and I was happy. I would always be excited to share my latest achievement in school with my Grandpa Frank because I knew that my academic success would make him happier than anything.

I always knew there was something special about my Grandma Lily and Grandpa Frank and felt a sense of pride when telling people that they were Holocaust survivors. Although they didn’t talk much about it, their way of life reflected the many lessons that can be learned from the horrible event they lived through.

They stressed the importance of education because they weren’t fortunate enough to have a full education. They also instilled the value of hard work and dedication in everything you do. They showed me what a blessing a loving family could be and how to never take things for granted. My Grandma lost her twin sister and both of her parents and my Grandpa lost both of his parents as well in the war. They dedicated themselves to making a better life for their family and building a strong family unit. They came here from Poland with nothing to their name, raised three successful children and became loving Grandparents to eight adoring grandchildren. They are proof that anything is possible and that no matter how bad life may seem, there is always a way to keep moving forward.

The Holocaust can teach us many valuable lessons. We must not discriminate based on religion, gender, race or sexual orientation. We are all human beings with unique qualities and special talents that should be embraced. It can also teach us to stand up for what we believe in no matter the consequences. Many Jews were saved by righteous gentiles during the war. Those brave people could have been killed for hiding Jews in their home, but they stood up for what they believed in and took a chance anyway.

We must educate future generations about the horrors of the Holocaust so we can ensure that nothing like that ever happens again. We need to stress acceptance and teach people how to embrace those that are different than them. My Grandma Lily and Grandpa Frank taught me many life lessons and will forever be remembered in my heart along with the memory of the six million that perished.