York School News

A Holocaust survivor shares his story of hardship, resilience and survival

Middle and Senior School students, faculty, and staff were honored to welcome a very special guest speaker to an assembly to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27). Sol Nayman is a Holocaust survivor who generously shared the story of his family’s hardship and survival – and his message of love and hope – with the audience.
Mr. Nayman was a small boy when the Nazis attacked his hometown of Stoczek, Poland. His family escaped by running into the forest and making their way to the Soviet Union. When they arrived, they were sent to a Soviet forced labor camp near the Arctic Circle, and later to another forced labor camp in the Ukraine.

You could have heard a pin drop in the gym as Mr. Nayman described the harsh conditions his family experienced in the labor camps. He also spoke about their resilience, explaining that their motto was ‘Survive today and hope to see tomorrow.’ Thankfully, he and his family survived and immigrated to Canada in 1948.

Today, Mr. Nayman is an educator who speaks out against antisemitism, racism and hate of all kinds.
Two of the York students in the audience – Ben M. and Ethan B. –had the privilege of accompanying him to Poland in April 2023. They were participating in the March of the Living, an educational program that brings individuals from 52 countries to Poland and Israel to study the history of the Holocaust and examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance and hatred. During the trip, the students were among the 100 Canadian participants who joined Mr. Nayman as he returned to his hometown for the first time since he and his family fled in 1939. 

The students and faculty at the assembly were deeply touched by Mr. Nayman’s testimony and many lined up to meet him, shake his hand and thank him when the assembly ended.

To show our gratitude to Mr. Nayman, the school has purchased copies of a book about his life called ‘If Not Now, When? The true Story of Sol Nayman’ for our Grade 6 classes and school library.

Senior School students had another opportunity to learn more about the Holocaust during a field trip to the Toronto Holocaust Museum. The museum’s exhibits are enhanced by cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) technology that brings the first-person accounts of survivors, artifacts, photos, and documents to life.

About the York School

The York School is a gender-inclusive JK to Grade 12 independent school located in the heart of Toronto. The York School was founded in 1965 and is the first English speaking school in Canada accredited to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) from junior kindergarten (JK) to university entrance. As an IB World School, The York School's motto is Experience Teaches.

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Junior School (Grades JK-5) 1639 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario M4T 2W6 
Middle School (Grades 6-8) & Senior School (Grades 9-12) 1320 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X2 | Tel: 416.926.1325
Mailing address: 1320 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X2
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