NORTHVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Holocaust was Nazi Germany’s deliberate and organized murder of approximately 11 million Jews and prisoners of war. In Northville, students honored a Capital Region woman and survivor with a Holocaust quilt.

The seventh graders at Northville Central School spent months learning about the subject and wanted to do more to acknowledge the horror that affected so many.

“Once our Holocaust survivors pass away, you forget it and then there’s nothing left,” said seventh grader, Bryce Tabor.

“It makes me feel amazing that I got to participate in something like this. Something that might, something that might end up changing the world one day,” said seventh grader, Natalie Southworth.

Each student designed a square patch for the quilt that memorializes the tragic event, it’s made to represent hope and perseverance.

“We always read the book ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ or the ‘Eve of the Holocaust’ novel in 7th grade; it’s just a great fit because the kids are kind of entering an age where they are questioning things,” said Jayme Bevington

Some of the students from class presented the quilt to 91-year-old Holocaust survivor, Ruth Mendel, who escaped from Luxembourg in 1940 when she was just nine years old. Two busses filled with folks trying to escape. Mendel had a 50/50 chance of making it out.

“It was just pure luck. I would not be standing here in front of you having been on that second Transport,” said Mendel. 

That second transport never made it out.

Being the first speaker at the school since the pandemic, Mendel took to the microphone, sharing the moment she learned her family was in danger.

“Saw us coming and saw the dreaded parents faces, saw us coming socially? and he looked at us and he looked at us and said and now it’s going to go ‘crrrrk’,” said Mendel.

Mendel says it is invaluable the youth of today are being taught the tragedies of the past. Yet, she feels the government should do more to preserve the historical event.  

“I would like to see the whole Holocaust issue become a federally mandated course in the schools. Because it’s up to school districts whether they focus on it or not and I think with everything that’s going on today in the world where there’s antisemitism all over again that it’s important that we never forget,” said Mendel.