Ken Engel speaks on the Holocaust to St. Joseph's students.
Ken Engel spoke to St. Joseph’s students about his parents’ survival of the Holocaust.

According to Ken Engel, "The way you treat every person, every day matters."

Ken Engel didn’t survive the Holocaust. Both his parents did, however.

St. Joseph’s students in fifth through eighth grades have learned about the Holocaust in their religion class.

Engel was able to offer a new perspective by sharing the stories of two people who lived it. His mother and father both survived Nazi death camps.

Near the end of his talk, an eighth-grade boy raised his hand.

Shawn an eighth grader at St. Joseph's Indian School.

Shawn, an eighth grader, asked Engel what he thought of Hitler.
“What do you think of Hitler?” Shawn asked. After a moment’s pause, Engel replied:

“I don’t believe Hitler was a monster. He was a human being who was capable of terrible, maniacal things. Every guard and solider was a person. They chose to treat other people the way they did.”

Engel left St. Joseph’s students with a very important lesson – the choices you make every day matter. How you treat each person you meet every day matters.

“Each day, you have a choice,” Engel told students. “You can laugh at the joke that makes fun of another person because they’re the wrong creed, color, race or religion. You can say nothing, and let the problem grow. Or, you can find a way to change things. You can refuse to laugh and say you don’t think it’s funny to demean others. Change happens in this world one person at a time.”

Engel is a member of the Speakers Bureau of Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas/Tolerance Minnesota, and a member of the Coordinating Council of Generations of Shoah International (GSI).

 

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