On February 1st, through a series of microphones, laptops and streamings, every EF campus was fortunate enough to hear the incredible story of Toby Levy, a holocaust survivor. Toby came to the EF campus in New York to share with us her story from that terrible time, so that we, the next generation, will always remember the awful events of World War Two and the effects it still has on people.
Toby was just 7 when the war began and the germans invaded, which she said was when life as she knew it really ended. They army took away everything from the jews: their rights, their jobs, their education, everything, and Toby and her sister were left home alone for many days whilst their parents were forced to work. She described to us how she vividly remembers looking out of the window one day and seeing a young child who had left it’s home while it’s parents were working; they watched as a german guard picked up the child and shot it in the air. Toby was 7, her sister was 11, and after that they never looked out of the window again.
Toby’s family was very lucky and her father was able to get information about selections and killings and he was able to find Toby and her family a place to hide. And in that place they hid, for two years, in the barn of one of her fathers customers, whose kindness saved her families life. Toby said they just seemed to have miracle after miracle. Hearing her story we were able to step in to the past and imagine what her life was like, being so young and having to endure this.
When the war was finally over, her family was able to relocate to New Orleans where she learnt to speak english and was able to go to school. Toby said her life has been full of luck and love, and she thanks her father for his determination and intelligence. They were a part of the 32 jews who survived in her town, out of the prior 5000. As we learnt about Toby’s story, we realized that she has no hatred for the Germans, just a positive outlook for a better future. Her wonderful attitude was so infectious and although she will forever have the fearful memories from her past, now she lives a full life, preaching her story to people like us who will never forget.
A big thank you to Toby from all of us here at EF Academy!
Written by Menna Clarke, IBY1 student