Holocaust survivor Lisl Schick uses experience to teach kindness
[Apr. 1, 2021: Avery Cotton]
Nearly 82 years ago, Lisl Schick’s father handed her this diary as he placed her and her young brother on the Kindertransport to escape Vienna when the Nazis moved in.
In a picture, taken just before Schick and her brother were separated from their parents, you see an 11-year-old girl tasked with caring for her brother and surviving. The picture shows them smiling, but Schick admits, “it was not the happiest time.”
Schick remembers the moment she realized times were changing. She says March of 1938 is when she remembers Hitler overrunning Austria. She was just a young school girl at the time.
“I walked into my class and, where the crucifix normally was, was a huge portrait of Hitler. I was told you were supposed to salute it,” Schick said.
She didn’t salute, and that is when Schick says she first experienced what life was like to be Jewish.
“They said, ‘you’re nothing but a dirty Jew and we want nothing to do with you,'” she recalled.
She was bullied, to say the least.
“I looked at my dad and I said, ‘Daddy can’t you do something?’ And he said, ‘there’s nothing I can do.'”
Except get her out. Schick and her brother lived in Great Britain until her father was able to meet them. They moved to New York, where Schick’s mother was waiting. All four of them were fortunate enough to escape, while their other family members died in the Holocaust.
Schick vowed to take her story and use it for good.
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“I will never forget that I was called a dirty Jew, and that was a long time ago,” Schick said.
Once bullied for who she is, in perhaps the world’s greatest tragedy, Schick shares her story to young school children and pleads with them not to bully. She encourages them to always show kindness, even when it feels impossible.
“One little girl came up to me and she said, ‘you’ve changed my life.’ That’s something I’ll never forget,” Schick said.