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Holocaust Survivor Speaks at CHS

Ian Miller, Staff

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On Wednesday, April 18, Holocaust survivor Edith Cord spoke in front of a crowd of about 60 sophomore AP World History students.  

Cord provided students with a historical presentation and a lecture on her life story and experiences.  

“It was an inspiring experience to hear a first-hand account of stories from such a tragic time,” said sophomore John Sanick.  

“So many of us felt the same way,” he added. 

Sophomore Kevin Alberg stressed the importance and urgency of listening to Holocaust survivors.  

“This is not an opportunity many of us will get again. I’m so glad I attended,” he said. 

Ms. Cord’s life is a harrowing tale of deception, survival, persistence, and today: activism. 

In 1929, Cord was born in Vienna, where she spent her early childhood. After Germany annexed Austria and the political situation of the country deteriorated, her family fled to Italy hoping to escape the anti-Semitic reach of the growing Nazi empire. However, not long after arriving in the country, Mussolini took control of the nation, and fascism had once again threatened the Cord family. 

Now refugees, the Cord family went from country to country across Europe, desperately searching for political asylum. Eventually, the family illegally entered France in 1939. In France, her father and brother were captured and sent to several concentration camps, including Auschwitz, where they later died.  As mass deportations took place across France, Edith became a hidden child, cutting off communication with her mother. She spent several years lying about and concealing her identity in order to avoid Nazi detection. 

Eventually, Edith and 30 other Jewish children were smuggled into neutral Switzerland, where she reunited with her mother and hid for the remainder of the war. 

After the war, she returned to France, where she earned a high school diploma and began working as a Nanny and Salesman. Then, in 1952, Cord arrived in the United States where she began working and became fully self-sufficient.  

Cord now lives a life of activism, spreading awareness about the Holocaust in speaking engagements. 

“My life goal is to share the hard lessons of life and pass those lessons to the next generation. I wanted these students to know how imperative our democracy is, no matter how messy,” Ms. Cord said. 

Ms. Petroff, the AP World History teacher that organized the event, could not have been happier with the turnout. 

“I’m so happy all of these students came out to listen to Ms. Cord speak. They took advantage of a great opportunity,” she said. 

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