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Testimony of Ginette Kolinka at Collège EIB Monceau

Testimony of Ginette Kolinka at Collège EIB Monceau

On January 23, 2024, Collège EIB Monceau had the honour of hosting Ginette Kolinka, an inspiring woman whose life is a vibrant testimony of resilience and perseverance. Born on February 4, 1925, in Paris, Ginette Kolinka is more than just a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp; she has become a fervent bearer of memory, determined to preserve the souvenir of those who endured the unspeakable.


"I thought of nothing, I was nothing anymore" - Ginette Kolinka, January 23, 2024


Awakening of Consciousness

Ginette Kolinka's life took a tragic turn during World War II, but it is her incredible resilience that stands out in her narrative. Following the arrest of some family members in 1941, her family fled to Avignon in 1942. However, in March 1944, she was denounced and arrested with her father, younger brother, and nephew. Deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, she endured the unimaginable, losing her father and brother, but she herself survived.

From Silence to the Transmission of Memory

For decades, Ginette Kolinka chose to remain silent about her past, not wanting to "bother people." However, her desire to speak emerged in the early 2000s when she joined an association of former deportees. She then became a memory ambassador, traveling across France to share her story with younger generations. Her goal is clear: to ensure that the horrors of concentration camps are never forgotten.


"To prevent it from happening again, we must talk about it." - Ginette Kolinka, January 23, 2024


Discussions with Students

Ginette Kolinka opened her heart with touching sincerity, taking us through the pages of her childhood and poignant moments of the war. The atmosphere that enveloped this exchange was tinged with deep respect and attentive listening, creating a true connection between her and the students of EIB Monceau College. These moments of sharing were enriched by the insightful questions of curious young minds, demonstrating a real thirst for understanding and knowledge.


"She is a very courageous person, and we are very fortunate to have such a unique testimony." - Inès, Grade 9 student at EIB Monceau College


Keeping Memories Alive

While sharing her personal story, Ginette Kolinka emphasized the crucial importance of never forgetting. She invited students to become guardians of this memory, perpetuating the memory of the tragic events that have marked our collective history. This moment of transmission was a powerful reminder of the lasting impact such encounters can have on future generations.


"I consider ourselves very fortunate to have received this testimony, which touched me deeply." - Flora, Grade 9 student at EIB Monceau College

Ginette Kolinka's visit to EIB Monceau College was more than just a meeting with history; it was a meeting with embodied resilience. Her testimony highlights the inner strength that allowed her to overcome the unspeakable, but above all, it emphasizes the importance of never forgetting. Through her life and commitment, Ginette Kolinka remains a source of inspiration for all who listen, leaving an indelible mark on our understanding of the past and our ability to envision a future marked by empathy and resilience.