Baraboo students hear from a Holocaust survivor

Published: Feb. 19, 2019 at 6:44 PM CST
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In light of the recent controversial photo of a group of Baraboo High School students pictured giving the Nazi salute, the school district chose to take the opportunity to educate its students.

Students at Jack Young Middle School heard from a holocaust survivor about his time in Auschwitz.

NBC15 respected the school districts wishes to not be on school grounds for the assembly by request of the superintendent to protect student privacy. NBC15 interviewed the holocaust survivor, Michael Bornstein, at the Baraboo Public Library.

"I was four when I went into Auschwitz and I was four when I got out,” said Holocaust survivor Michael Bornstein.

Only one of 52 children under the age of eight who can say that. But Bornstein has little memory of the Nazi salute.

"I didn't see the Nazis doing the salute and I know that's one of the reasons why we came to Baraboo,” Bornstein said.

Bornstein commented on the prom photo of a group of Baraboo high school students appearing to do the Nazi salute that went viral.

"It's not a joke to mimic the holocaust, to mimic black people or any other people,” Bornstein said.

That is why Bornstein came to teach Baraboo students. The Education Resource Center of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation helped coordinate the visit. The federation helps educate the state about the holocaust by coordinating survivors to share their stories with people, especially students. Executive Director Dr. Shay Pilnik thought Bornstein would be an excellent survivor to share his story in Baraboo.

"I think there is no better way to teach the lessons of the holocaust then to introduce young men and women to a former four year-old prisoner of one of the most notorious concentration camps in the world," Dr. Shay Pilnik said.

Bornstein and his daughter, Debbie Holinstat co-wrote a book 'Survivor's Club' to make sure Michael's story is never forgotten.

"We wrote the book for this reason, we came to Baraboo for the same reason, to educate," Holinstat said.

"The Nazis took everything away from us, but an education is something that can't be taken away from you,” Bornstein said.

For more information about the Education Resource Center of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation,


To read Michael and Debbie's book, 'Survivor's Club,'