Park City students to hear firsthand account of World War II

There are few times that individuals can learn about World War II from someone who actually lived it. So when Dirk Gootjes found an opportunity to bring an individual who lived through Nazi occupation to Park City High School, he jumped on it.

Gootjes, the community outreach coordinator for Latino families at Park City High, has organized a visit from Marijke Shuttle, who will speak at the school on May 24. Shuttle was a young girl between the ages of 10 to 15 years old during the Nazi occupation of her native country of the Netherlands.

Shuttle plans to talk about her experiences, including seeing the maltreatment and disappearance of people in her community and the fears of living during a world war, Gootjes said. She will also discuss the freedom that students in Park City and all over the U.S. have.

“It’s important not to take for granted the freedoms that we have in this country,” he said. “She really wants to emphasize that.”

A question-and-answer session will follow her presentation.

Gootjes, who met Shuttle through a friend, said that it is important for students to hear a first-hand account from someone who saw and experienced an important time in human history.

“She is a piece of living history,” he said. “I think it’s really powerful to hear right from the person who was actually there. It makes a big impact on a person.”

She is scheduled to speak at the school for two different sessions during third and fourth periods in the high school’s lecture hall. Students will attend with their classes.


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