A Holocaust survivor has finally — and officially — completed her formal education after gaining an honorary diploma from a Jewish high school, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Miriam Schreiber, 88, received the diploma on Aug. 16 from the New England Jewish Academy in West Hartford, Connecticut.
According to a story in the local outlet We-Ha.com, Schreiber was only 7 years old when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. Until 1946, she lived and worked in a Russian displaced persons camp. After the war, she yearned to attend school to get her diploma, but never had the chance to do so.
Several months ago, courtesy of Jewish Family Services, several of the school’s students met Schreiber and heard her story. After speaking and connecting with Schreiber, they said they wanted to help her.
With the participation of school principal Richard Nabel, a meeting was held, during which seniors voted unanimously to have her be part of the graduating class of 2020.
“When the class of 2020 was asked if they would share their graduation ceremony with Miriam, the response was jubilant,” Nabel told local outlet We-Ha.com. “As the first class to graduate from the New England Jewish Academy, they were proud to join generations together in this milestone event.”
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the class had an online graduation ceremony.
But Schreiber was undeterred — and so was the senior class, according to We-Ha.com.
They waited until this month when the situation in Connecticut, as well as in much of the Northeastern United States, improved, and the case numbers were down. A small ceremony was held for the octogenarian with a few family members and friends at the school, where she was personally handed her certificate.
Schreiber told the publication, “It was my lifelong dream to get a diploma of some sort. I didn’t have the chance, never went to school, never had the opportunity.” JN