The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

Can Speaking up Change the Course of History?

Names, Not Numbers is a program dedicated to remembering the Holocaust and spreading awareness of Jewish hate. There are many students from North High that participate in the program, and luckily North High had the opportunity to have Dr. Michael Berenbaum present a speech on antisemitism.

Would you stand up for what is right? If no one else was on your side, would you take the risks involved with speaking up, purely because you knew it was the humane thing to do?

In 1941, many people would’ve answered “No” to this question. In 1941, we let the opposing side win because we stayed quiet. And, in 1941, the consequences of our actions marked a huge change in millions of people’s lives. 

People situated in the Holocaust had to fight through starvation, cold weather, and the temptation to die (Credit: Britannica).

During the Holocaust, Nazi Germany and their allies killed six million Jewish people as well as millions of non-Jews. In an effort to remember these atrocities, Tova Fish-Rosenberg founded the “Names, Not Numbers” program in 2004.

Since then, the program has grown significantly, making its way to classrooms and students. Today, over 8,000 students have participated in the project and 450,000 people have viewed the Names, Not Numbers films. At North High, 15 students are selected to participate in the organization every year.

Of these 15 students, sophomore Gabriela Sedagatpour recently joined the program. “So far, I’ve really enjoyed Names, Not Numbers,” said Sedagatpour. “We have had a few meetings discussing future plans and watching videos produced by the program.” 

Names, Not Numbers has stated that their mission is to “mobilize the wisdom of living Holocaust survivors and veterans of World War ll in a 21st century effort to combat antisemitism and other forms of hatred and intolerance.” One way in which the program accomplishes their goal is through assemblies at schools. 

“I believe that each time students hear about the Holocaust, it allows them to gain a new perspective of what happened, and to take the time period even more seriously,” said junior Jade Nabavian, a participant in the Names Not Numbers program.

Names, Not Numbers has made a huge difference in the world by means of films and presentations (Credit: Names, Not Numbers).

Sophomore Noah Yousefzadeh is also a member of Names, Not Numbers. “I joined Names, Not Numbers because their goal is even more important today due to the unfortunate rise in violence against Jews.” He continued, “I think the program will help educate people about the results of antisemitism, which is something everyone should understand.” 

Michael Berenbaum, a writer, lecturer, and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and historical films, is also part of the Names, Not Numbers Board of Directors. He has played a prominent role in what he describes as the “Americanization” of the Holocaust. He has helped in the creation of many Holocaust museums around the world, and is the author and editor of twenty books. 

Luckily, Berenbaum was able to present a speech at North High due to our involvement in Names, Not Numbers. He spoke about antisemitism and other marginalized communities within the United States. He has interviewed countless Holocaust survivors, knowing that the number of survivors decreases daily. 

Michael Berenbaum is passionate in his work and is always looking for new ways to educate people about the Holocaust (Credit: Tallahassee Democrat).

Berenbaum also discussed how different people believe in different facts. Along with his goal of diminishing antisemitism and making people more aware of the tragedies marginalized communities face, he wants us to learn how the world works.

Dr. Berenbaum said to North High students, “You can’t be satisfied with ignorance. You have to be satisfied with knowing there is much more to learn.”

He believes that the world today is horrible, filled with hatred and cruelty. However, he does not believe the world will stay the same. Starting with us, he wants to see change. 

“I agreed with a lot of the things Dr. Berenbaum said,” said sophomore Nathaniel Bina. “He has good intentions and I’m happy he was able to present to our school.” 

Berenbaum’s wise words were telling of his experience within the field of Holocaust studies. Hopefully he was able to impact all of us with some words of inspiration and remembrance. The horrors of the Holocaust should never be forgotten and something like that should never happen again. Not only does antisemitism exist, but also many other forms of discrimination against all kinds of people. It is important to stand up for these individuals, especially when no one else will.

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About the Contributor
Kian Soleymani
Kian Soleymani, Associate Editor
Kian Soleymani is one of Guide Post’s associate editors. He takes difficult courses at North High, ranging from honors to AP’s, with his favorite class being math. Kian also loves to play sports in his free time, participating on the JV lacrosse team and playing outside of school on club shore-2-shore. After school, he enjoys participating in the ping pong team, the robotics team, Model UN, and key club. As someone who wants to challenge himself, he’s constantly trying to improve by making himself and others around him better. 

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