In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 8), the Greece social studies department invited Mr. John Kula to speak with students. Currently, John works in the security department in Greece, and he has a rich family history dating back to the 1930s and 1940s in Europe. John visited Arcadia High School, Arcadia Middle School, and Athena High School over the week.
John’s parents were both captured by Nazis during the Holocaust, and placed in labor/concentration camps. After the liberation of those camps by both the Russians and the US, his parents met at a refugee camp, were married, and John and his older sister were both born in Europe in those camps. John and his family arrived in the United States, via Ellis Island in 1949.
For John’s presentation, he walks students through his very personal connection with the Holocaust, share pictures, talks about the experiences of his parents, and answers questions. He also outlines the major causes, events and results of the Holocaust, and includes major individuals as well. Lastly, he completes his talk with the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and passes around pieces of the wall that he owns. John’s message to the students is centered on celebrating the diversity and uniqueness of individuals, rather than allowing those things to create negative situations and devastation. He connects this overall theme to bully prevention strategies, and creates an argument that focuses on never forgetting about our history, and making history a personal journey.