Tour for Tolerance, an organization that helps raise middle and high school awareness of intolerance by teaching empathy, compassion, inclusion and respect for all, held a fundraiser on Thursday, May 30, to teach students about the Holocaust as both a historical tragedy and an alarm for the present.
Among the honorees was former Fort Hamilton High School teacher Sally Frishberg, a Holocaust survivor who taught at the school from 1958 to 1991. Frishberg arrived in New York City from Poland and couldn’t speak a word of English. She studied hard, earned a teaching degree and taught at Fort Hamilton for over 30 years.
Frishberg was born in Poland in 1934 and had to flee the country due to the German occupation. She was just eight years old in 1942, when she and her family were forced to pack up their belongings and escape in the night from the Nazis. They slept in fields and kept moving so no one would spot them, she said.
Frishberg and her family hid in a friend’s attic for two years. There were 11 people living in the attic in close quarters and subsisting on meals of beans and potatoes.
But her family was among the lucky ones who somehow managed to endure long enough to be liberated by the Russian Army in 1944. When they returned home, they learned that most of their friends and neighbors had not been so lucky.
Frishberg and her family eventually immigrated to America, where she was determined to become a teacher to impart the lessons she had learned.
The family settled in Midwood, where she graduated from Brooklyn College and ultimately became a teacher at Fort Hamilton High School.
The event included other Holocaust survivors, their liberators (Soldiers of Valor), active members from the United States Armed Forces, cadets from the Fort Hamilton High School Battalion, educators, parents, students and people from all ethnic groups, celebrating life and taking positive steps to prevent future atrocities from happening again.
The Fort Hamilton High School Tiger Battalion Junior ROTC Color Guards, directed by retired Sgt. First Class David Freedland, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Cantor Levi Kranz performed the national anthem and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of the New York Board of Rabbis offered the evening’s invocation.
Opening remarks were delivered by Rabbi Andre Malik. Mark Meyer Appel of the Bridge served as master of ceremonies for the evening and speakers included Holocaust survivor, historian and educator Werner Reich and Tour for Tolerance Founder and CEO Bill Tingling.
Other award recipients were Paul and Peggy Bernstein, Boris Feldman, Sami Steigmann, Werner Reich, Leonoid Rozenberg, Anastasya Braverman, Anna Malkina and Khonya Epstein.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, Assemblymembers Steven Cymbrowitz and Helene Weinstein, City Councilmembers Chaim Deutsch and Mathieu Eugene, Rabbi Yitzhak Walderman and community organizer Leonora Bulychova also presented awards.
Recently, Tour for Tolerance acquired a coach bus to convert into a high-tech classroom. It will be transformed into an educational center to reach more than 50,000 students per year.