Orange County Elementary Student Graces Holocaust Documentary

This is, quite simply, amazing. Not long ago, Maya Kvesic, a nine-year-old student at Roch Courreges Elementary School in Fountain Valley, read in class a poem inspired by a famous World War II Life Magazine photo. The picture shows a young boy in Poland’s Warsaw Ghetto with his hands up, as he and others are being rounded up at gunpoint by the Nazis in 1943.

Kvesic’s aunt blogged about the reading; a newsletter, “Generations of the Shoah”, picked up on the blog item; a documentary filmmaker read the newsletter; and this past Tuesday, that filmmaker and the author of the poem, Peter Fischl (pictured, with Maya), were at Kvesic’s school to film a re-reading, with her costumed as the little boy.

Per the Orange County Register story:

The documentary, Holocaust Soliloquy, is about Fischl, who is not a poet but a printer. As a boy, Fischl was hidden from the Nazis in Hungary during World War II.

He fled the Communists in 1956, emigrating to the United States. In the 1960’s, he saw the famous photo of the Polish boy. But it wasn’t until Fischl watched Schindler’s List that he wrote the poem.

Here’s the kicker. The photo, which moves people to tears, was originally intended as a birthday gift for Hitler.

[You can read Fischl’s poem here.]