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Scarsdale Middle Schooler Becomes Upstander For Human Rights

Talia Katzke, middle, with Anna and Peter Somogyi. Photo Credit: Submitted
Talia Katzke with Millie Jasper of The Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center. Photo Credit: Submitted

SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- She may only be 12 but Talia Katzke, a seventh grader at Solomon Schechter Day School in Hartsdale, is a force to be reckoned with.

The Scarsdale resident has set up a GoFundMe page to tell the story of a local Holocaust survivor and with that, to become a  "Legacy Circle" member, meaning she will help educate her community about survivors' stories.

"As the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, we are at a time where we must seize the moment and learn from them so that we can teach future generations of the horrors of genocide and the Holocaust," she writes on her page.

Through a program with The Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center and its day-long Human Rights Institute for middle school students, Katzke was paired with Holocaust Survivor Peter Somogyi.

When Somogyi, originally from Hungary, was 11, he was deported to the Auschwitz where Dr. Josef Mengele, chose him and his twin brother for medical experiments and research.

"In the coming months, I will use my experiences with Peter to explain his story so that I can better understand how we can all triumph over hatred and make the world a better place," writes Katzke.

Her goal is to raise $18,000 as part of a process to become an educator within the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center.

Held annually, The Human Rights Institute encourages students to become upstanders rather than bystanders. The two main themes of the Institute are "Respecting the Individual" and "How to Be an Upstander."

An Upstander is defined as a person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked or bullied

Katzke is soliciting donations until March;  this project is an extension of her bat mitzvah. Go HERE for her GoFundMe page. Go HERE for more information on the White Plains-based Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center.

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