Superintendent Cyndy S. Taymore
360 Lynn Fells Parkway
Melrose , MA 02176
For Immediate Release
Friday, Feb. 2, 2018
Contact: John Guilfoil
Melrose Middle School Students Attend Moving Presentation from Holocaust Survivor
MELROSE– As Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School students learn about World War II in class, eighth graders had a chance to hear Holocaust survivor Bella Tovey speak about her experience in Nazi-controlled Europe.
The event was organized to coincide with the eighth grade class reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” — the personal account of a 13-year-old Jewish girl who went into hiding in Amsterdam following the Nazi occupation of Holland.
On Tuesday, Jan. 30, eighth graders and their parents gathered in the MVMMS auditorium to listen to the 91-year old Tovey — the grandmother of eighth grade student Sonia Marks — share her honest and heartbreaking story.
Speaking to a crowd of more than 270 people, Tovey relayed her account of the war. Born in Poland in 1926, she witnessed the country fall to the Nazis at age 13. By 14, she was sent to a labor camp and separated from her parents, sister and brother, all of whom did not survive.
At the end of the war, Tovey endured the death march to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, from which she was later liberated in 1945. She was 17 years old.
“Ms. Tovey spoke in poignant detail, as if the events happened last week, not 75 years ago, as she described nearly four years of her life, including the two years she spent in a concentration camp, losing loved ones and witnessing the horrors of the Holocaust,” Principal Conway said. “You could hear a pin drop in the auditorium for over 45 minutes with many students and adults shedding a tear.”
Tovey has shared her account of the war many times in the U.S. and abroad, and her story is highlighted at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. She now lives outside Washington D.C. and was married to the late Henry Tovey, who was also a survivor of the Holocaust.