• 79°

‘We all have a choice – to be good and do good’

By Susan Shinn
sshinn@salisburypost.com
CHINA GROVE ó Sixth-graders at China Grove Middle School have been studying “The Devil’s Arithmetic,” a book about the Holocaust. They had the opportunity on Tuesday to submit written questions to Holocaust survivor Suly Chenkin.
Q. “Was there anything that gave you hope?”
A. “I was just a child,” Chenkin said. “I was very afraid when I was given away.
“I remember people being kind to me.”
She remembered seeing beautiful sunflowers as she rode trains from place to place with her foster mother. Someone in Russia gave her money to have a new coat made.
By the time she arrived in Cuba, she said, “I remember being treated like a princess.”
Q. “What were you thinking during the time you were hiding?”A. “I was just very, very frightened. I kind of was like encapsulated in myself. I was a shy child afterward.”
But, she said, she was never afraid of the dark.
Q. “What was it like not having your parents to take care of you?”A. “It was heartbreaking. Every day, I was saying to them, ‘Don’t send me out today.’ I was trying so hard not to leave them.”
Q. “At one point, were you ever close to being caught?”
A. “Probably when I was in the potato sacks. I could have woken up and started crying.”
Another time, she accidentally spoke in Yiddish instead of Lithuanian, and could have been caught had someone other than her foster mother heard her.
Q. “Are there any lifelong effects of your experience?”
A. “There are a lot of effects, but I was very lucky,” Chenkin said. “I was always with somebody who cared for me. Miriam gave me a lot of love while we were in Israel.
“My parents were true survivors. They taught me how to love and be compassionate.
“My father chose to remember the good parts. We all have a choice ó to be good and do good.”
Q. “How do you treat people, now after your experience?”
A. “I think it’s made me a better person,” Chenkin said. “I’m not indifferent to people.”
Chenkin called Hitler a loser and a bully. While she may not necessarily stand up to a bully, she could stand with a victim, she said.”When a victim has a friend, they’re not a victim anymore,” she said. “Do not be indifferent.
“You have to be aware how lucky you are to live in this wonderful country. You don’t want to be a bully and you don’t want to make things worse for anybody.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Appeals court tosses China Grove man’s murder conviction, citing lack of evidence

Crime

Two men charged with robbing, killing Gold Hill woman

David Freeze

Day 8 for Freeze brings trooper, tunnel and more climbing

Education

Back to School: A message from RSS Superintendent Tony Watlington

Education

Salisbury’s colleges take different approaches to COVID-19 vaccinations

Coronavirus

Back to school: COVID-19 in RSS, K-12 schools

Local

Rowan County commissioners approve agreement for millions in opioid settlement funding

High School

Fall sports: Official practice begins

News

Nancy Stanback remembered for compassion, philanthropy

News

David Freeze: Finally a day that met expectations

Education

Back to School: Getting to know RSS schools

Education

Back to school: From public to charter, Faith Elementary won’t miss a beat

News

Threat of rising evictions looms in North Carolina

Nation/World

US hits 70% vaccination rate — a month late, amid a surge

Education

Turbyfill remembered for years working to help students

Local

Blotter: Shots fired when motorcycle club tries to kick member out

Local

City Council to consider 230-home development on Rowan Mill Road near Grants Creek

Nation/World

Smoke triggers pollution alerts in US West, Midwest

Crime

Former employee charged in shooting at Charlotte game room

Crime

Report: Young child among 3 shot in road rage shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will Britton Village apartment complex be complete?

Nation/World

DaBaby booted from Lollapalooza after homophobic comments

Crime

Blotter: Kannapolis man charged with 15 counts of sexually exploiting of minor

Local

Salisbury will make history with installation of marker commemorating 1906 lynchings