The student news site of Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School

The Schreiber Times

The student news site of Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School

The Schreiber Times

The student news site of Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School

The Schreiber Times

Holocaust survivor Mark Schonwetter visits Schreiber High School

On May 23, students all over the district had the honor of joining Holocaust survivor Mark Schonwetter on the final quarter mile of his significant 15-mile walk.  This walk, advocated by Journey for The Living, a Holocaust awareness organization, aims to honor the harrowing journey Mark Schonwetter undertook to escape the Nazis.  Students collectively walked an impressive 3,000 miles in the month of May to pay homage to Schonwetter’s story and legacy.  This event not only commemorated the past, but also educated and inspired the young participants about resilience and the importance of remembrance.  

“I think that this is a great effort by the district to raise Holocaust awareness, and it gives students the opportunity to better understand the pain that these survivors experienced during the Holocaust,” said junior Max Siskin.

Mark Schonwetter was born in Brzostek, Poland in 1933.  During the Holocaust, as a young boy, he endured unimaginable hardships to survive.  When the Nazis invaded Poland, Mark and his family were forced to flee their home.  They spent years hiding in forests and barns, relying on the kindness of strangers and their resourcefulness to evade capture.  Mark’s journey was a difficult and dangerous one, which involved constant fleeing, and facing fear and uncertainty.  His story is one of strength and perseverance.

Journey for The Living is an organization founded to raise awareness about the Holocaust through the lens of Mark Schonwetter’s story.  By encouraging people to walk 15 miles, the organization aims to symbolize the distance and the struggle Mark endured during his escape from the Nazis.  

“Journey for The Living seems like a great organization, and I’m very glad to  have participated in their walking event during my gym class,” said junior Lucas Lardoux.  

This initiative serves as a powerful educational tool, allowing participants to connect with history in a meaningful and personal way.  The act of walking becomes a tribute to those who suffered and a commitment to remembering their stories.

Dr. Ira Pernick, Administrator for Curriculum, led the campaign for students to become involved with Journey for The Living and learn about Schonwetter’s unique experience.

 “In our efforts to provide Holocaust education to students throughout the district we partnered with the Mark Schonwetter Holocaust Education Foundation and participated in the Journey For the Living.  Having students participate in the walk, learn an account of the length families went through to evade Nazi capture, and meet with a survivor helps expand understanding about the Holocaust and keep spreading a message of kindness and hope,” said Dr. Pernick.  

PE teachers integrated participation in the walk into their curriculum, and teachers highlighted the historical significance of their actions to their students.  


“Walking the track that day made me understand the true depth and struggle of those who lived during the Holocaust.  I myself would not be able to walk miles on end, without stopping, as Mark Schonwetter did,” said junior Melanie Hernandez.  

The event culminated in the symbolic final quarter mile walk with Mark Schonwetter himself, providing the students with a tangible connection to living history.

Mark Schonwetter’s traumatic experience during the Holocaust and his subsequent advocacy through Journey for The Living serve as powerful reminders of the dangers of hate, and help to inspire a brighter future.  

Schonwetter has always lived by the saying, “Live every day with love, not hatred, and you will accomplish so much more in life,” and hopes the message will pass on to all the students he works with.