Burns Park fifth graders learn about the Holocaust from one who survived it

Story and photos by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News

Irene Butter fascinated Burns Park fifth graders last month with her story of surviving the Holocaust, then returned a few days later to read the letters students had written to her.

Butter, a University of Michigan professor emeritus and an Ann Arbor resident, talked about the horror of the concentration camps, weathering terrible times, and coming out to live a successful life of hope and human charitable duty.

Sandy Kreger first had her students watch a documentary based on Butter’s experience, so they were prepared for the visit.

“I was really thrilled to see how attentive the students were,” said Butter, who has been speaking to students since 1987. “The quality of the listening was very high. When the children came up to me afterwards, I could tell that it made an impression on them. A lot has to do with the way the students were prepared. They had seen the film and knew what to expect. They had wonderful questions.”

 Kreger said her students will remember the talk for years to come.
“I believe it has changed the cells in their bodies for the good,” she said. “They heard the message from Dr. Butter: Never a bystander.”

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