If You Don’t Speak Out, Someday, it Will Come Back to You- Kristallnacht

Victoria Guthrie, Staff Writer

“If you don’t speak out, someday, it will come back to you.” A quote addressed to the students at Teaneck High School by Kristallnacht survivor Mrs. Edilestein encourages students to speak out on the existence of the Holocaust. Remembering history prevents the possibility of repeating history. Mrs. Edelstein, throughout her presentation, was very adamant about keeping the events of Kristallnacht known to every listening ear. As time progresses we lose access to hearing personal firsthand experiences of the Holocaust, which makes it the responsibility of those listening to remember and spread the word. 

Many Holocaust survivors tell their stories to prevent the erasure of the Holocaust and all the effects it had on the Jewish community. So many people went through different hardships and conditions hoping that one day all that shuddering would end. Mrs. Edelstein, alongside her family, was forced on a one-month train ride, in a box car, to Siberia. All people who were considered enemies of the state were put into these box cars and only given a bucket as their bathroom. It was so cold inside that they would pick lice off of each other for fun. When they reached Siberia, they were put into schoolhouses with sleds on hard dusty floors to sleep. Eventually, her dad and another man built a log cabin, in which soon other people would begin making log cabins and create a small village. 

Everyone in the village was working to find some sense of normalcy in this foreign and cold region. At the end of Mrs. Edelstein’s presentation, she offered up a Q&A where she received the question; When did you finally feel safe, to which she answered, “Never.” This exemplifies that even as her community was working to find a healthy living system, she still never felt safe. 

Mrs. Edelstein’s willingness to tell her story to high school students was received with endearing applause by the students. As she told her story, there were lessons about the importance of education, brotherhood, injustice, and the value of speaking up against injustice. Those lessons were some that she learned and hoped to share with this upcoming generation who has only ever read about this event in their textbooks. Teaneck High School was honored to have her speak with them and share her brave story.