Alumni Spotlight: Julia Sussman (’13 & ’17), Australia

Julia Sussman, Australia Youth ’13, Staff ’17, Founder, Youth HEAR

This week we are proud to feature Julia Sussman (’13, Staff ’17), alumna from March of the Living Australia. Inspired by her experience on the March of the Living Julia went on to found and direct Youth HEAR (Holocaust Education and Remembrance), an organization dedicated to mitigating hate in society by connecting young Australians with the memory of the Holocaust.

March of The Living taught me how to forgive while still fighting to never forget.

When I was 16, in 2013, I was a participant on the March of The Living. I stood as a witness to the lives lost and vowed to honour the survivors. I was forced to sit with the darkness, accept the worst parts of history and channel my energy into actively learning how to wholeheartedly say never again. 

These two weeks left me with so much drive and instilled a sense of power within me. The power of knowing that I was able to positively influence not only my own life, but the lives of those around me. This was the driving force that lead me to go on the student trip again in 2017, although this time I was there to open the eyes, minds and hearts of students who stood in my shoes just three years later.

In the years since, I have gone on to be the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Youth HEAR (Holocaust Education And Remembrance), an organisation dedicated to mitigating hate in society by connecting young Australians with the memory of the Holocaust.  I, as does Youth HEAR, fundamentally believe it is pivotal to remember and commemorate the sorrows, loss and dehumanisation of the Holocaust while paying tribute and memorialising the deaths, terrors and trauma.

March of The Living took it one step further, the program exposed me to the resilience and light that shone throughout the surviving community, even in the wake of one of the darkest points in human history. Youth HEAR endeavours to emphasise the resilience, rebirth and courage so many had, enabling us to be here today. By continuing to understand and learn about the complexity of this time period we can shed light on the agency we have in our own lives and become up-standers in society. In this way, we strive to learn the lessons of the past in the hope that we will truly be able to say ‘never again’.

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