Legacies: High School Visits is the only program of its kind in New England. A cohort of 9th-12th graders learn about the Holocaust by meeting with a survivor three times over the course of the year and creating a meaningful project together.
Hannah and Aviva instantly connected with Leon Rubinstein, a Holocaust survivor who at age 12 was forced to live in a ghetto after his older brother and younger sister were killed. While in the ghetto, he had to dig mass graves. Leon’s father found a Christian family who would hide him but conditions were so scary he had to live underground. When his eldest sister found him after the war, he learned that his parents and their other five siblings had perished. In 1951, Leon immigrated to Israel and served in the army. During the Legacies: High School Visits graduation, Leon said, “It’s hard to describe what it was like at the age of 85 to have contact with these two beautiful girls, but it makes me feel good at the end of my life to see children like this, so giving, so kind.”
Hannah and Aviva were inspired to capture Leon’s memories in a time capsule that included several of the inventions Leon created after the war (along with the patents and instructions), photos, a flash drive of the audio of their first meeting, and a book Leon wrote about his experiences during the war.