Holocaust Survivor Speaks for Manhasset HS

Luke Chan

After a long school day following the midterm week, high school and middle school students filled the auditorium.  Most kids are anxious to leave the building after ninth period, but this was a special occasion.  Guest speaker Alex Konstantyn, a Holocaust survivor, came to give his testimony of the event from his childhood.

We learn about WWII and the Holocaust in history class through textbooks and videos, but most of us have never heard a first-person account.  Mr. Konstantyn brought this rare opportunity to Manhasset students today.  Invited by the International Club and History Honor Society, Mr. Konstantyn relayed his story of being a Jewish boy escaping the Nazi regime.  Despite being over 80 years old now, he still speaks and talks about his life with passion and energy.  He led the audience through his family receiving notice of the invasion of Poland, his home country, through his escape as a refuge, through the loss of his father, and ultimately his liberation.  The emotion that Mr. Konstantyn spoke with moved everybody in the room.  He transported us 70 years back, sharing his horrible experiences.  Despite the darkness that he encountered during his boyhood, he concluded his presentation with a note to all his listeners: rise up to adversity and fight for what you believe in.

This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance.  Mr. Konstantyn’s story inspires everyone, and his determination and spirit serve as models for all who are lucky enough to meet him.