Charity walk in NJ aims to raise money, awareness for Holocaust education

Mark Schonwetter
Mark Schonwetter of the Holocaust Education Foundation Photo credit Ann Arnold

LIVINGSTONG, N.J. (WCBS 880) — Eighty-one years ago this week in Nazi Germany, Hitler's regime took over, destroying Jewish businesses, synagogues and homes.

Today, the effort is stronger than ever to educate people about the Holocaust.

Mark Schonwetter was given his life after leaving his hometown and walking 15 miles to a ghetto in Poland as a child. With his mother and sister, they fled the Nazis and his in the Polish countryside for three years.

"Me as a survivor can stand in front of people and say very simply I am here thanks to the goodness of some people who helped us to survive this period of time," Schonwetter said.

Now, he wants people to know his family's story and is promoting Holocaust education through his Holocaust Education Foundation.

"Mainly we try to go to schools and speak with the kids," he said. "All the teachers, but in particular the ones that teach the classes, should be aware of it, should have guidelines, how to approach this and how to see the way kids are accepting this class or not."

His foundation has reached 50,000 kids across nearly 20 states.

The foundation's fundraiser, being held Sunday, Nov. 14, is called "Journey for the Living." It will be held at The Oval in Livingston, New Jersey where people are encouraged to come and walk 15 miles.

"The idea came to my daughters. Why don't we remind people how a woman with two small little kids had to walk 15 miles to escape from one destination that was supposed to be back, to be saved in a different one which nobody thought that would be demolished one day," he said.

His daughters, Isabella Fiske and Ann Arnold, help run the foundation and they said the money raised will go to grants for schools to fund more Holocaust education.

"Up to $1,000 is a grant so they could ask for as little as $250 and they could bring in a set of books into their classrooms so the students can read any story about the Holocaust and learn about it and put the curriculum into their classrooms," Fiske said. "I am proud to be the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and it's become our life's mission to continue to tell his story and become his voice."

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Ann Arnold