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Holocaust speaker amazes St. Clare’s

Cindy Ramunno/Special to the Daily
Special to Daily
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Respect, reverence and responsibility – those are the words that students and staff live by at the St. Clare of Assisi School.

Located in Edwards, St. Clare’s boasts 150 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. In the last three years St. Clare’s has been open, the school has enjoyed very little turnover in teachers.

The school promotes responsibility and self-worth, so it’s no wonder that it would have an amazing speaker talk to students about the Holocaust.

On Tuesday, all of the students got the opportunity to listen to Tibor Baranski, a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, appointed by the president of the United States. Baranski was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1922 and became the executive secretary of the Jewish Protection Movement in 1944. Baranski is credited with saving 3,000 Jews –and probably thousands more – during that time.

From 1948 to 1953, he was imprisoned by the communists, receiving amnesty after the death of Stalin. In the fall of 1956, he was a freedom fighter during the Hungarian Revolution, helping to organize assistance.

After fleeing his homeland, Baranski became an established teacher, public speaker, lecturer, advisor and radio commentator. He is also an accomplished poet and has received numerous awards. Baranski became a U.S. citizen in 1967, and he and his wife have three children and six grandchildren.

The “Buffalo Times” ran an entire feature on Baranski and he’s a popular, speaker whose not easy to for a small school to get. So how did St. Clare’s snag him? Baranski’s grand daughter, CoCo Spangler, attends kindergarten at St. Clare’s.

“We depend a lot on our parents for volunteer work and for events like this,” explains Jennifer Armistead, administrative assistant for the school.

Armistead also wants to emphasize that St. Clare’s welcomes parents or interested community members to come and check out the school and enjoy the events.

Teachers and parents at St. Clare’s said they were amazed to have Baranski speak at their school. Two teachers – Jenn Stiebel and Susan Ogilvie – spent a week last summer in Washington, D.C., studying the Holocaust with other Catholic school teachers from around the country. “It’s so rare to have a living rescuer from the Holocaust,” said Ogilvie. Teachers at St. Clare’s already openly discuss Catholic-Jewish relations in all eras of history.

For more information about programs at St. Clare’s, or for facility tour or enrollment information, call 926-8980.


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