Holocaust survivors and octogenarians Ruth Millman and Laszlo Selly spoke to upper school and middle school students, respectively, during special assemblies in honor of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Both shared chilling details about the terrors they experienced as children; Millman described her family’s suffering during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, Poland, and Selly outlined life in Jewish housing in Budapest, Hungary, where he and his family came within hours of being executed.
During a remote upper school assembly on April 5, Millman described how she and her mother escaped Germany’s labor camps and fled to Italy, where they hid until the end of the war. "I cannot tell you the atrocities I saw," she said. "I saw babies torn apart by Nazi officers in front of our eyes ...The Holocaust was a genocide like no other."
Selly spoke to middle school students virtually on April 8, explaining how he grew accustomed to seeing families loaded on cattle railcars and sent to Auschwitz, or marched to the shoreline of the Danube River where they faced rifle fire. “They didn’t care whether you were children or not,” he said, “they would kill you just the same.” The morning Selly and his family had been told to line up outside their building, Russian soldiers knocked on their door and informed them they had taken the street from the Nazis.
“Had it been one day later, I would not be here today to tell you my story,” he said.
The survivors’ visits were part of the school's ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Millman’s visit was organized at by the Jewish Students Association, and she was introduced by JSA president Bruce Leight '21. Selly was introduced by history and social sciences teacher Joe Mauro.
For the last 25 years, Millman has spoken to students about her experiences. Besides sharing his story, Selly has worked to capture portraits of fellow Holocaust survivors.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.