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Pleasantville Teens Hear From Holocaust Survivor

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. — Students from Pleasantville High School gathered at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville Thursday morning to take in a stronger lesson plan than they could read in their text books.

Virginia Mancini's 10th-grade AP European History classes were among several area high school groups that had the chance to meet and speak with Holocaust survivor Ruth Bachner of Somers.

"What we're trying to do is to encourage these kids to be 'upstanders' rather than bystanders," Mancini said. "We're trying to form the opinion that everybody can make their voices heard and not put up with things they know are wrong."

Thursday's event worked seamlessly into the lesson plan of Mancini's classes, which happened to be finishing up its study on World War II and reading about the Holocaust.

"Normally at this time of year we don't go on any excursions because it's so close to the AP exam," Mancini said. "But since it fit right in exactly where we're studying on such an important topic, we got permission to come down."

The question and answer with Bachner was preceded by a screening of the 2011 film "Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers." The film follows a group of Polish women who helped save the lives of thousands of Jewi

sh children during the Holocaust.

"What you're going to see today is going to sadden and disturb you," Rabbi Mark Sameth of the Pleasantville Community Synagogue told students. "This is not gonna be easy, so we acknowledge you for being here, having the courage to be here today."

The event was held in honor of Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Rememberance Day. Pleasantville students Alex Catalan and Charlie Finn helped close out the ceremony with the lighting of six candles in honor of the 6 million Holocaust victims.

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