Holocaust Survivor Fred Heyman Teaches Randolph Middle School Students the Importance of Being Upstanders to Prevent Bullying
The week beginning with the first Monday in October is designated as the Week of Respect in New Jersey. In recognition of the importance of social and emotional learning and character education, school districts statewide will be providing age-appropriate instruction focusing on preventing harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Holocaust Survivor Fred Heyman gave a presentation this morning at Randolph Middle School on the importance of being an upstander at school and in the world.
Fred was born in Berlin, Germany on April 25th, 1929. He was one of the lone survivors of the Holocaust experiencing the rise and fall of Nazi Germany during his childhood. Only about 8,000 Berlin Jews survived out of the 170,000 Jews who populated the city in the 1920s. Fred shared with our students the importance of spreading love not hate to prevent atrocities like the Holocaust from happening in the future. Fred’s message is that one person can make a difference and that all of us can make an impact by choosing to be kind and compassionate. “The opposite of a bystander is an upstander. I want to be an upstander. I want people to be upstanders. In Nazi Germany, most people did not help,” he says. “Being an upstander means that you wish to make the world better. Start changing your world today. The future starts with you.”
Fred added that hate starts wars, and that the best way we could all make a positive impact is by being respectful of ourselves, others, and the environment. He also expressed the importance of hope in dark times and the power of optimism. “Never give up hope. The resilience of survivors is exactly that. Never give up hope.”
Vice Principal Jackie Fik reinforced that hate was a mistake and that we all can make a difference in the lives of one another. Fred then noted that the Holocaust is the worst case of bullying in history. The efforts we can take in our schools and our communities to stop harassment, intimidation, and bullying can help eliminate hate and change the world.
Fred celebrated his 90th birthday on April 25th of last year! We are grateful that he shared his wisdom with our students and that he continues to live his life to serve others.