Bright Harbor Healthcare

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When Art Imitates Life: A Holocaust Survivor’s Story

  By: Mrs. Charla Cole, Instructional Paraprofessional/ Substitute Teacherdsc_4132


The students and staff Ocean Academy had the great pleasure of meeting artist and holocaust survivor, Claire Boren. During over an hour long presentation, she took us on a harrowing journey of her childhood and what it was like to survive the war in hiding. Born in Poland, Claire lived with her parents and extended family in a modest home until one day all of that changed. It was sometime during 1941-1942 when all of the Jews were rounded up and confined to a ghetto in her village. Realizing the growing danger, her father paid for the family to go into hiding on a farm with a Christian family, while he stayed behind. Claire Boren spoke vividly of the fear, loneliness, and despair she felt when she and her mother were confined in a pitch black hole under a pig sty, about the size of a coffin. It was through these frightening experiences and many others that prompted Claire to retreat into an imaginary world, which ironically, influenced her to channel this creative energy into art. She is an accomplished and recognized, visual artist.

  The students got the chance to view many pieces of Mrs. Boren’s art and offer their interpretations of what each one was trying to tell us. It was awesome to see them actively participate with each student offering a different point of view, helping us gain a bit more insight into the feeling and tone of each peice. At the end of the presentation, the students were able to ask her direct questions about her life and artwork. Claire’s message to future generations is,  “Always remember that prejudice and hatred must be stopped whenever and wherever they occur. We must all try to do the right thing and cry out whenever you see injustice and other people persecuted. You must not stay silent!” It was a great message to all of us at OA and we thank Mrs. Claire Boren for sharing her story of hope, strength, and survival.
Did You Know: Around six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust and out of children, only one in nine actually survived.