Project Heritage: survivor’s stories

Heritage Students Joel Gross, Sarah Apfelbaum, Emily Scharrmacher, Orly Jacobs and Abigail Apfelbaum with living historian Gerty Jellinek and school principal Michael Jones.

A RECORD 154 Sydney students across nine schools are participating in Project Heritage this year, a NSW Board of Jewish Education (BJE) initiative.

The project sees students working with Holocaust survivors to preserve stories of Sydney’s postwar immigrants and pass them on to younger generations.

“The program is a vital tool for students who want to connect with their Jewish roots by learning more about the Holocaust, placing their knowledge into a more structured framework, and relating to the individual story of an older member of the Jewish community,” said BJE principal Rachele Schonberger.

During Project Heritage, classes are visited by Holocaust survivors, who act as “living historians”, and relate their life story in an age-appropriate and sensitive way for students. Participants then conduct further research before preparing a presentation based on the survivor’s life.

“Despite their incredible hardships and challenges, these amazing survivors have gone on to lead incredibly full and active lives and have been very generous in sharing their stories, something both BJE and its students are most grateful for,” Schonberger said.