79-year-old Ann Jaffe was only 10 when her Jewish family saw first-hand what was then rumored to be happening all over Nazi Germany.
Jaffe says she considers herself lucky to have lived on the eastern side of Poland. The east side, she said, was then controlled by the Soviet Union and didn't fall prey to the Nazis until 1939.
"They called it a Blitzkrieg. Like lightning, they ( the Nazis) came through," Jaffe said.
It took no time at all for the Nazis to take control of her small village of 1,200 people. Hate, she said, took over the town. She told students the stories of one-time family friends enlisting in Nazi militias.
"These were not strangers," said Jaffe. "These were people we knew and celebrated public holidays together."
The citizen militias enacted the brutal mass murders ordered by the Nazis. But there were a few Christians who were brave enough to help save and hide Jewish families.
"This is what mankind is all about," said Jaffe. "It means even if it puts you at risk, if someone is in need, you extend a helping hand."
"The trauma that they went through was just unbearable," said Jaffe's daughter, Linda Vodovis. "And they also got a sense that the people in America didn't want to hear about it, because it was so horrible."
Vodovis travels with her mother to introduce her to audiences and offer her support. Even though Jaffe has told her story over 300 times, she says it's still difficult. She says she can't let that get in the way of her message to today's youth.
"Learn not to hate. Learn to be more tolerant," said Jaffe. "Learn to appreciate that you live in the best country in the world."
Six million Jews were killed during The Holocaust, two-thirds of the entire European Jewish population at the time. Five to eleven million other people, including the disabled, Jehovah's Witnesses, and German political opponents died in German concentration camps.
Jaffe will also speak at Meridian Community College's McCain Theatre Monday night at 7 p.m. Admission is free.