Max Eisen was a special guest at the High School Blessing and Opening Celebration. He was identified on the program as an Auschwitz Survivor.He was an inmate in 1944.
Father Maximillian Kolbe was a Franciscan priest, also an inmate of Auschwitz who was executed there in 1941. He gave his life in place of another's . Of Mr. Eisen's family of 65 members almost all were executed in 1944.
A group of students and staff of the high school went to Poland and France last year to learn what they could of the man whose life is commemorated in the spirit of their school.Mr Eisen had helped them understand how things were in Auschwitz.
I was not able to watch that part of the video. I have vivid memories of what the allies found in the death camps when the war ended. The images will haunt me as long as I live.
Father Lucian, also a guest,was a colleague of St Maximilian Kolbe. He spoke of him as a brother. Of his scholarly intelligence. Of his interest in science. How he embraced the modern media of his time and thereby attracted Gestapo attention to himself.
I have never met anyone who knew a Saint. I don't even know anyone who has. I have no doubt he was everything they said he was.
Yet the message Father Lucian brought to the students from the saint was simple.
Love...Love your neighbour.
The auditorium was full of students, parents, teachers, two parish priests and a Bishop gathered together to make a joyful commitment, to their faith , their future, their community and their world.
The evening, the school, the ceremony, certainly made the connection for me between the evil that was The Holocaust and school in a small Town in Canada, thousands of miles distant and a mere seventy years apart.
I personally expect great things of St Maximilian Kolbe Separate High School on Wellington Street, Aurora.