Upper School invites Holocaust survivor to speak at Viewpoint


David Lenga will return to Viewpoint to speak to students in person after unable to finish his story during an assembly due to time constraint.

Longxuan (Barry) Yao, Editor-In-Chief

In an official communique to students and faculties, the head of Viewpoint Upper School, Alan Howie, invites David Lenga to speak to the community. Currently 95 years old, Lenga is a Jewish Holocaust survivor who currently gives speeches about his life as a Jew during wartorn Europe; he uses his platform to remind people of the nightmarish event that transpired in his youth.

A presentation that lasted around 40 minutes, the assembly was hosted by senior Marrisa Borochoff (22′), who began the assembly by clarifying the term “antisemitism” and its impact on the Jewish community. Borochoff then introduced the speaker David Lenga via ZOOM, who opened his heart to the students about how he had to survive the Jewish ghettos in Nazi-controlled territory,

“You had to stand in a line, and if the soldier tells you to go right, it means that you are still capable of working and you will return to the ghetto to live; but if he tells you to go left, you will be executed for being ‘disabled.’ My mom was told to go right, me and my brother were told to go left.” However, just as Viewpoint students immerse themselves in Lenga’s personal story, Lenga’s speech had to conclude due to time restraints, much to students’ chagrin.

The controversy spawned as many students were unsatisfied with how Lenga’s story ended as a school faculty interjected and announced his presentation’s end when Lenga was telling students about how his mother passed away. The speaker was seen emotionless and speechless on the screen following the announcement.

“[It was frustrating] that Mr.Lenga’s story was cut short,” a student says to the Patriot. “I was very disappointed.” Following the I block incident, the Jewish Student Union gathered and hosted a meeting “We appreciate students’ passion; we are making sure all students’ feelings are accounted for, and support David Lenga’s visit to Viewpoint and coordinate with the school,” the union expresses to the Patriot, “we understand that there may be miscommunications, but we are looking forward.”

But the invitation from Alan Howie will see Lenga return to Viewpoint, albeit in person this time, as his return is greatly sought after by the students, who have explicitly asked that Lenga be invited to speak to the entire community. Many students approve of the school’s decision to invite Lenga. “I believe it’s a step in the right direction,” a sophomore student told the Patriot.

“I want to apologize for the fact that we were not able to hear David’s full story today,” laments Howie in his email to the school, responding to students’ passionate reaction to the incident. “Marissa and I just spoke with David to both extend our apologies to him and to invite him to campus to meet with you in person. . Thankfully, David has agreed to come to campus to talk with us again and allow us the opportunity to hear his full story and get to know him better!”

The Patriot was able to reach out to the Marissa Borochoff, who coordinated Lenga’s visit, “I understand the frustration, [but] it is a blessing that he has agreed to come back to Viewpoint, and I am excited [about] that event as I hope other students are.”

David Lenga’s return date is on May 24th, “we are looking forward to his return; we are working on the logistics,” says the Dean of Upper School student Eric Steiger. The Patriot will provide updates on Lenga’s return.