Listening to Dr Susan Cernyak-Spatz is like staring up that the milky-way. Unbelievable.
If you were to see her at the grocery store, you would never guess she had a tattoo. You wouldn't guess she was 91 years old. You would never know that she spent 3 years in hell, surviving Theresienstadt, and Aushwitz-Birkenau. You might see that small unassuming woman, but you would have no idea about her legendary spirit.
To hear her story (or to read it, as it has been published) is to travel across the spectrum of the human experience. To start in a place very similar to your life now, to travel through the darkest pits of hell, and then to somehow to emerge out of that darkness. A journey of unimaginable hardships. A journey that shaped an extraordinary personality that is not angry or bitter, but instead, one that is driven to teach and prevent those sort of atrocities from occurring again.
She signs her books "Never Forget" Suzan Cernyak-Spatz; a reminder that we have a duty to stand for humanity no matter the cost. A cost she is well aware of, having paid more than we pray we will ever have to pay.
When she came to my class, I couldn't resist offering to make a portrait for her. It was suggested that some of her students could come and have their portrait taken with her, to show how many lives she had touched, which I of course thought was a great idea. I guess I was not the only person who thought so, because when a message went out on facebook that she was taking photos with past students, there was an overwhelming response. While a lot of people showed up, they are just a drop in the bucket of lives that she has touched.
You can check out the rest of the session on Flicker
I would also like to invite you the public opening and reception on April 27th at UNCC.