Critical Thinking/Discussion Questions - Fredericka Saharovici

1. Fredericka said that a situation like the Holocaust could happen again. She believed good people need to act and speak up wherever they are to make the world a better place. Do you agree? Explain what you think students can do to help prevent such atrocities from happening again.

2. Read this quote taken from Elie Wiesel's Nobel Acceptance Speech delivered in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 1986- View The Entire Speech.

“Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.”

―Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Are there situations in the world today where human dignity is in jeopardy? What can be done about it? Discuss.

3. Fredericka and Leonid saw a possibility to leave Romania, which was communist at the time (behind the Iron Curtain). They asked friends to contact an uncle in Memphis. This uncle was able to pay the Romanian government to allow them and her parents to leave Romania. How would it feel to have your freedom “bought” like that?

4. “In 1930, Romania had been home to 756,000 Jews. At the end of World War II about 375,000 of them had survived. As a consequence of the wartime changes in borders, 150,000 of the original population ended up under Hungarian sovereignty in northern Transylvania, deported in 1944 to concentration camps and extermination centers in the Greater Reich; nearly all of these 130,000 perished before the war’s end.”

Ioanid, R. (2000). The holocaust in Romania: the destruction of Jews and Gypsies under the Antonescu regime, 1940-1944. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee.

How would losing half of the Jewish population in a country affect the climate of the country? What would life have been like there for Jews after the war? Do you think antisemitism may still have been present after the war?

5. Watch survivor Leonid Saharavici’s testimonial film. How does his story compare to his wife’s?