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Holocaust survivor speaks with students at George Washington School in West Hempstead


George Washington Elementary School in West Hempstead welcomed Holocaust survivor Werner Reich last month for a presentation about his journey and lessons that can still be learned from the Holocaust.

The German native described his family’s move to Yugoslavia in 1933 as the Nazis came into power. In 1943, he was jailed for seven weeks after being arrested by the Gestapo before later being sent to camps in Theresienstadt and Auschwitz I and II.

Reich ended up in Mauthausen, Austria following a seven-day death march in January 1945 and returned to Yugoslavia before escaping to England in 1955. He married his wife and they later immigrated to the United States together, where Reich became an engineer. The couple has two children and four grandchildren.

Reich is a founding member of the Long Island Multi-Faith Forum and is a frequent speaker. His speeches include progressive lessons on bullying and how Holocaust experience can be used as an educational lesson.

“Thank you to Mr. Reich for visiting our district to establish the valuable lessons he has learned through his life,” said Director of Innovative Education Ryan Emmanuel-Cooke.

Compiled by Nakeem Grant