Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. A hopeful outlook has encouraged Holocaust survivor, Ms. Rachel Goldman Miller, throughout her life. On April 17, Miller visited Xavier to share her experiences of living through World War II and the Holocaust.
Miller started the presentation by informing everyone of her difficult journey. Miller was born in Paris in 1933, where she lived with her family before the Nazis invaded France when she was seven. Her mother sent her to the countryside to live on a farm with a Catholic family. She was forced to hide her identity by changing her name and not letting anyone know she was Jewish. After leaving the farm, she found out her family had been captured and would soon be in concentration camps. Miller lived in orphanages and was later brought to the United States in 1946. She promised herself that she was going to speak out, and she has kept that promise for the last 23 years and counting.
“Each one of us should remember to respect yourself because you become a far better person and accept that other people are different,” Miller said.
When the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center opened in 1995, they asked many survivors, including Miller, to come and speak. She thought she was only going to share her story once, but this evolved into giving speeches all over the country year round. Although it is hard for her to talk about her journey, she feels it is her mission to spread it.
Many Xavier students attended her speech, including freshman Jeffrey Kaas. He found her lesson on being who you are very inspiring.
“I learned from the speaker that no matter how bad things can seem or be, you can still make it through, and there is always hope,” Kaas said.
Miller has lived in Missouri for 25 years and will continue to travel across the country to speak about her journey as long as she can, spreading hope to others.