Nikki Silver

A Holocaust Survivor’s Bond With Troubled Teens

Documentary on Fanya Gottesfeld Heller focuses on the relationships she developed speaking in
inner-city schools about her wartime experience.

06/08/2010
Staff Writer

The first time Holocaust survivor Fanya Gottesfeld Heller told her story at Pacific High School, an alternative public school in downtown Brooklyn, she jumped every time a school bell sounded. The students, mostly black and Latino, all from low-income and troubled homes, noticed.

And all understood. Some 70 years after she came under Nazi rule as a young teen in her native Ukraine, and some 50 years after she immigrated to the United States, part of her is still that frightened adolescent.

Pacific High School students gather with Heller. Narell Hunt, third from left, holds her 4-year-old daughter, Nia.
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