Years ago, the Beermans had a vision: They wanted to help more young people develop a deeper understanding of history by sponsoring visits to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. Through a fund at CFA, that’s what they did, and are still doing.
So far, the late Abe and Janet Beerman of Johnstown—members of CFA’s Legacy Society—have helped send more than 16,000 students to the museum. In 2019, the participating schools included students from Fulton County for the first time, so the influence—and their legacy—continues to grow with every passing year.
Each year, students who participate in the trips create a reflection on what they experienced at the museum. This can take the shape of a poem, an essay, a drawing, a painting, or sometimes a more 3-D version of the students’ feelings, such as a molded clay sculpture. Days when these reflections arrive at CFA are always special. Certain themes arise as we look through how these students’ lives were affected and how their perspectives have shifted as a result of their visit.
This year, as we approached Jan. 27, the day designated by the United Nations as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the team here at CFA compiled some of the quotes that jumped out at us from the past year’s new school students:
“We instantly realized the importance of this sacred building. All at once, our whole group hushed over and we took in all the building stood for. We split into groups and made our rounds looking at artifacts and reading life stories of those involved. It is truly heart wrenching to even think of the awful things done to innocent people. This trip sparked something in me, matured me somewhat; it showed me the world isn’t always fair nor right.”
“The more we learn about the gruesome things in this world, the more we can learn to stop them from happening again.”
The more we learn about the gruesome things in this world, the more we can learn to stop them from happening again.
“It is unimaginable how a person could be filled with so much hate, and how so many people could follow a cause that they didn’t fully understand.”
“We need to be informed of the corruptness of the past so we can make better decisions for the future.”
“These little packets of paper listed the name, birth date, place of birth, and information about an individual’s life. Every pamphlet was different, and every individual was somehow affected by the holocaust. My pamphlet was about a Latvian man, Daniel Judelowitz, who was arrested, then deported and never seen again after Yom Kippur, 1941.”
My pamphlet was about a Latvian man, Daniel Judelowitz, who was arrested, then deported and never seen again after Yom Kippur, 1941.
“People used your hair and your eyes to determine whether you were ‘Aryan’ or ‘Alien.’”
“One mother, before facing her demise within a gas chamber, yells out, ‘At least let my precious children live.’”
“How could any person allow this to happen to so many innocent people?”
“This trip has had a huge impact on my learning as both a student and a human being.”
To learn more about creating a legacy through CFA, contact Donor and Development Services Officer Katrina Perkosky at [email protected] or (814) 208-8411.