Talia’s Tolerance Tour

by Emily Gould April 2, 2019
 

 

talia-with-her-grandfather-paulOn May 13, 1931, Paul Schauder was born to Markus Schauder and Fanny Garten in Germany. As Jews could not attend public school at the time, Paul and his older brothers, Jacob and Hermann, attended a private Jewish school. Their parents worked at the family department store, Kaufhaus Schauder, until its destruction on November 10, 1938-otherwise known as Kristallnacht. Soon after the barbarity of this nigh–namely the vandalization of Jewish properties and killing of nearly 100 Jews–the Schauder family was separated as Markus was jailed by Nazis.

When Paul was just seven years old, he went to the jail to visit his father and bring him bread. He was laughed at by the Gestapo. While they eventually let the boy see his father, it was the last time he ever would. Around this time, Fanny decided to protect her sons by bringing them to an orphanage: first in Frankfurt, and then in Berlin. She received word in 1942 that Markus had been killed in Buchenwald concentration camp. While Fanny, Jacob and Paul were able to evade the Gestapo in 1943, Hermann was not so lucky and died in Auschwitz. From their escape until the end of the war, Fanny and her two sons hid with separate families: Fanny in Manheim, and the boys in Ettlingen.

Paul and Jacob were liberated and cared for by an American Army chaplain (Rabbi Haselkorn) and a Jewish Army captain (Albert Hutler) until they traveled by military ship to America in 1946. Although Paul survived the war and was able to build a new life for himself in America, he lost his father, brother and childhood due to the anti-Semitic atrocities committed throughout World War II and the years leading up to it. Now, his granddaughter, Talia Schauder, is speaking up and out, giving presentations to local schools about her grandfather’s story and the Holocaust, as well as delivering a broader message about the importance of tolerance in general.

What started out as a history project evolved into something much greater when Talia’s step-mother, Heather, “voluntold” Talia to come speak at the middle school where she worked, after having some challenges with 8th graders playing an anti-Semitic game. Heather and the school’s principal agreed that the message might be better received coming from a peer, versus an adult. They were right. Talia’s presentation was a huge success and word soon got out to other schools and youth groups in the community. By the end of March, Talia will have spoken to almost 4,000 students at six schools, a church and her own Jewish youthgroup (YAM).

Talia customizes her presentations to best meet the needs of her audience. She said that while speaking to Jewish groups, the message is “about our responsibility to not let people forget what happened to us.” But when speaking to secular audiences, she projects a “broader message of tolerance.” Talia is very “thoughtful about engaging students in dialogue about being tolerant, not just about the Holocaust,” said her father Mark, “and she’s done an amazing job.”

So amazing, in fact, that she’s being honored with the Peter Chortek Leadership ,Award through the Jewish Community Foundation. The award is given to high school-age individuals as a praise for “taking Tikkun Olam to the next level.” Talia plans to keep up this personal excellency by continuing to speak to students throughout high school as well as college. She also hopes to be a teacher in the future to continue educating.

For now, the 17-year-old continues to make a difference by being actively involved in Youth Action Movement (YAM), and seeking different leadership opportunities within the group. She also volunteers as a teacher’s assistant at an extended school year program for special education students during the summer. In her free time, she enjoys photography, spending time with family and friends and playing the flute in marching band. Whatever she does, Talia takes care to hold not only herself, but others up to a high standard of personal and social responsibility, ensuring that we will never forget the events of the Holocaust and we will never allow such intolerance to be targeted at any group or individual again.

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