Value Life – a student essay
by Lauren Ashley Williams a student at Oracle Charter High School, in Buffalo, NY
It’s not often that students my age get to have life-changing experiences. We often take so much for granted, not realizing that the world is filled with so many things that will change the way that we look at life. I had one of these life-changing experiences recently when I met Joe Diamond, Director of the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo, and one of the few living survivors of one of the most terrifying historical events in the twentieth century – the Holocaust.
Mr. Diamond visited Oracle Charter School recently to talk about his experiences and during Mr. Diamond’s Q&A section, I was able to come up with very good questions to ask him. I asked questions based off what I learned in my Holocaust course here at Oracle Charter School. We talk about events that happened during the Holocaust, and where Jewish families were sent when they were forced from their homes. While in my Holocaust course we learned a lot about how Jews were taken from their homes, and forced to live somewhere else. We learned about how people were taken away from their families and never got to see them again. When Joe Diamond spoke and said that he relocated and started a new life in the United States here in Buffalo, I instantly wanted to know what it was like assimilating himself to the new life he chose to live. He simply answered that he came to Buffalo with five dollars in his pocket and a will to live. After becoming a citizen of the U.S he joined the army and was drafted into the Korean War. He also shared that he was stationed back in Germany when he was in the army. I immediately asked if he had any animosity towards the Germans. He answered saying that once he was stationed there and saw how life was he knew that there was no way he could turn around and take the life of innocent people. He knew deep down inside that he would be just as bad as the the Nazi soldiers during the Holocaust if he chose to harm the Germans that he met. Mr. Diamond spoke about his experiences before, during, and after the Holocaust.
Joe Diamond’s experiences opened my eyes and gave me a new perspective on life. It made me value life, and family a lot more. When he shared the story about how he witnessed a woman’s newborn child being kicked across an open field, it made me realize that life can be taken from anyone at any given moment and everyone should value life. He also shared that his mom and younger brother were separated and sent to the gas chambers because of their age and gender.
When Mr. Diamond left, he left us with one last message: “ Never be a bystander; if you see someone in trouble help them if possible.”
Six million jews, and five million people of mixed genders were murdered during the Holocaust. This alone should make anyone value the life that they live,and realize that life is very valuable, and nothing in this world should be taken for granted.
To find out more about the Holocaust you can visit websites such as www.ushmm.org.