By Mayia Portee
This is the story of a remarkable Holocaust survivor named Suly Chenkin. She came to speak to a group of students November 20 2014 at Garinger High School. Chenkin came by the invite of Nicole Lipp a Civics an Economics Teacher. She started off briefly explaining where she came from, what languages she spoke, AND how she was affected by Hitler’s cruel actions. Chenkin told the Garinger students that she spoke 5 languages, three of them being English, Spanish, and German, fluently.
Chenkin went on to explain how it was a total of 40,000 Jews that went into the Kovno Ghetto with barbed wire all around and a main gate. And this was were we were all living on August 19 of 1941. Only 5 percent or 2,000 survived, among them was her mother and father. Chenkin said “she is grateful for two miracles that have occurred in her life.” The first miracle was that her mother, father and she survived the Nazis. The second miracle was that, unlike most Jewish families, her family was reunited. The reason why Chenkin and her family were separated was because she had to have completely new identity, new name, and she had to learn a different language. Chenkin’s parents placed her with a lady named Miriam Shulman, who had rescued about 30 children, placing them in safe homes.
I found Chenkin’s visit to be very encouraging and it helped me to shed a completely different light on the holocaust, and what it was like. If anyone has an opportunity to meet a holocaust survivor never take it for granted, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions, Like what was it like, how did the holocaust affect you mentally, how has it affected your performance today? I remember someone asking Chenkin how she felt about Hitler, her response was: “Hitler was crazy and a big bully and that no matter what we should never let anyone dampen our faith, we should be prepared for the bullies of this world.” I hope that some of you get the chance to meet Suly Chenkin because she is truly an amazing person towards us all. Chenkin currently lives here in the Charlotte area with her husband. I hope that she will come to speak again to Garinger High School.