Keeping the story alive


Bianca Salgado

On Feb. 21, guest speaker, Esperanza, waits in the theatre to discuss her father’s survival during the Holocaust. “My father helped the Jewish people change their names, because he too had 10 passports with multiple names,” Esperanza said.

Hanna Suarez, Editor-in-Chief

To share the story of her father and how his experiences shaped her life, daughter of Holocaust survivor, Esperanza Doe visits Downey High on Feb. 21 during both lunches. The event was planned in part by librarian Martha Flores after she was addressed by junior Yakob Posada who was interested in bringing in this woman with whom he attends service with.


Posada explained that when Flores mentioned bringing in an author to speak to students he thought  it would be a good idea to bring in Esperanza so she could tell her father’s story.


“It’s inspiring that he orchestrated the whole thing,” Pablo Robles, 12, said. “I gained a lot from his translation.”


Esperanza started the story with her father’s background, illustrating his early life living with Gypsies and traveling in their communes around Europe; he  eventually escaped to Mexico where he met his wife and had a family. Alongside, she explained the culture and the ways of her Jewish kin.

“We are a very kind and happy people; every eighth day we have a celebration, we eat, we drink, we laugh,” Yakob translated. “We are thankful for everyday.”


Senior Evelyn Uribe learned from Esperanza’s stories.


“I learned more about Jewish culture; it was eye opening,” Uribe said. “They’re  really set on their beliefs and don’t push it on other people.”


Posada hoped that Esperanza could contribute to students and give further knowledge on the impression history left on humanity.


“[Students] can be more informed on how Jews were affected in the Holocaust,” Posada said. “Hopefully the stories will inspire a certain people to realize what is important in life.”


Esperanza’s father was wanted for fighting and killing Nazis during the war as well as assisting his Jewish people, so the family was forced to live a quiet, secret life. Even with caution, her siblings and many of her cousins were pursued and killed.


“Anti-semitism is the same today,” Posada translated. “Still, people are hunting Jews.”


Flores was shocked upon hearing the truths which Esperanza revealed to the listeners.


“I still didn’t know they were being racist to Jews in Mexico,” Flores said.


ERWC teacher Bonnie Nishioka took this as an opportunity to expose her students, who are currently working on their genocide unit, to a primary-source.


“I hoped it would keep these kids informed and hopefully influence them to respect other cultures,” Nishioka said.


For Esperanza, her life has been shaped greatly by the brutal events that took place in history. The bravery and persistence exemplified by her father and folks like him remains for generations to learn from.


“His memory will live on,” Posada said. “What he did, many people were afraid do do; he was very courageous.”