Little Tomi Reichental was only 9, when he was imprisoned in Gedenkstätte Bergen-Belsen; the same Concentration Camp where Anne Frank was held.
Tomi survived. Anne, as well as 35 members of Tomi’s family perished along with six million other Jews during the Holocaust – a horror perpetrated by man on his fellow man in Central Europe only seventy odd years ago.
Can you imagine?
Picture your nine-year old child, or grandchild, or any kid skipping into a school near you. Imagine ‘they’came and took him or her away. Imagine ‘they’ never brought him or her back.
One of my great privileges over the past number of years is one whereby I get to talk to 11 and 12 year olds (5th and 6th class) about Leadership, Responsibility and Self-esteem (the antidote to bullying). I do so on the back of my own son, Steven, having experienced (and survived thank God) bullying over a sustained period when he was young. In telling Steven’s story we end up, the class and I talking about the role of the bystander in the bullying drama – the bystander enables the bullying to continue.
Bystanders enabled the Holocaust too. They said it could never happen again, yet it did in 1995 – the genocide in Bosnia Herzegovina.
Bystanders need to become UPstanders and stand UP for the put upon amongst us.
So when I was approached to help spread the word around a schools competition (Find out more about the Inspiring Tomi schools competition here.) designed to highlight the dangers inherent in bullying and the damage that can be caused by those in the know staying quiet, I realized I needed to practice what I preach and become an UPstander, not just a BYstander, therefore this week’s Coffee with Colm episode is brought to you by Tomi Reichental (Holocaust Survivor) in his interview with 9-year old Sean Cribbin.
Tomi quotes Anne Frank in the video:
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
In honour of Tomi, and for the six million who were taken and not brought back, I ask that you watch the video and urge you to promote the competition to your school – these two acts make you an UPstander too.
Be an UPstander now by watching the video.
Sean Cribbin, a 9 year old Irish boy interviews Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental. Tomi was also only 9, when he was imprisoned in Gedenkstätte Bergen-Belsen. Empathy is a gift we must never lose. Thanks to Tomi for helping us learn vital lessons from history so that the mistakes of the past will never be repeated.