Students at Winfree Bryant Middle School got a glimpse of what life was like for a Holocaust survivor at an assembly Monday.
Sonja Dubois visited the school to talk about her experiences as a young girl during the time when Jews, and others, were sent to and held in concentration camps when Adolph Hitler rose to power in Germany.
Dubois, whose birth name is Clara Van Thyn, was just 20 months old when her parents gave her up to a new family so she could avoid being placed in a concentration camp. She was born in Holland, which was "a safe haven for Jews in Poland and in Germany" at the time, she said.
"People were expendable in Hitler's world," she said. "People weren't people; they were like animals."
After explaining more of her early childhood experiences with her adoptive parents, whom she referred to as "Mom and Pop," she told the children in the audience she "feels like a floating puzzle piece" and "there will always be pieces missing." But her Mom and Pop did tell her when she got older that "we have taken care of you all these years," and "your name is Clara, and your parents died in a concentration camp."
She told the audience there was a lot of indifference and people asking, "what can one person do against something like that?"
"One kid can make a difference," she said. "Because we live in a country with free speech. If you remember one thing from today; you are all important.
"The Jews had a saying, 'Never again,' but never again doesn't happen unless you speak out," she said.