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Survivor teaches Juanita High School students about Nazi Germany

January 5, 2017 | Lake Washington School District

Holocaust survivor and actress Eva Tannenbaum-Cummins performed her one-person play, “A Page from the Past… Or is it?” in December for students in Peter Suruda’s English classes at Juanita High School. During the annual visit, organized through a partnership with the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle, Tannenbaum-Cummins recollects her childhood growing up in Hitler’s Berlin:

"All of a sudden we hear ‘Hitler's coming! Hitler's coming!’ And of course everybody had to give the Hitler salute, except Jews for whom it was forbidden. And so my mother said, ‘turn around.’ And we quickly turned around toward a jewelry shop and watched the reflection of Hitler passing by. A very scary moment.”

When she was in fifth grade, Tannenbaum-Cummins and other Jewish students were expelled from school. After witnessing Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), she and her mother spent nearly a year trying to leave Germany for Seattle where a cousin lived. They arrived in 1939 when she was a teenager. Two weeks later, Germany invaded Poland and ignited World War II.

Students sat in silence during the performance, but were eager to ask questions afterward. Several students were interested in whether Tannenbaum-Cummins had been back to Berlin. She said she’s been back twice, but emphasized Seattle is her home. “Berlin is just a place I used to live.”

 

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