Holocaust Survivor Tale by Former New Rochelle Teacher

Written By: Robert Cox

An interesting post showed up in the New Ro Buzz this afternoon that I thought worth promoting to the front page.

I chanced upon Journey to the Golden Door: A Survivor’s Tale by Jay Sommer, and like all holocaust centered books, it contained both the all too familiar, and the amazing. In 1981, Jay Somer, a high school foreign language instructor at New Rochelle High School, was named the National Teacher of the Year. His path to that honor was extraordinary.

Read the rest of the post here.

84B09A10-3F3C-4378-B271-F389D10CE2CE.jpgA little research on my report shows that Mr. Sommer was presented the award for National Teacher of the Year by then-First Lady Nancy Reagan on April 22, 1981.

Washington, D.C., April 22 – Jay Sommer, who came to the U.S. from Europe in 1948 and received his formal education through more than 20 years of night classes, has been named the 1981 National Teacher of the Year.

The announcement was made today at a White House ceremony in which the First Lady, Mrs. Nancy Reagan, presented Mr. Sommer with the crystal apple award, representing the traditional symbol of teaching.

Mr. Sommer, a foreign language teacher at New Rochelle High School in New York, was selected from more than 150,000 teachers in the annual awards program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. The program is sponsored by the Encyclopaedia Britannica Companies, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Good Housekeeping magazine.

Mr. Sommer, who speaks 10 languages fluently, was born in Germany in 1927 and raised in Czechoslovakia. His father died when he was in the fourth grade, forcing him to quit school and support his family. At age 12, he was incarcerated in a Nazi labor camp for the duration of World War II and in 1948 emigrated to the United States. Once here, he re

Anyone know if Mr. Sommer is, as suggested in the post, still living in New Rochelle?

6B0DC862-67C4-4831-AE0E-64E5C5F87300.jpgThe book is currently ranked #1,218,583 in sales at Amazon.com. You can purchase the book here. Quite frankly, I am surprised the story of a holocaust survivor becoming National Teacher of the Year was never made it to a movie. That seems like a pretty powerful tale and one worth sharing with a wider audience. Apparently, Hollywood was too busy making Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the fictional account of a man who comes to realize that the path to true happiness lies in working security at a shopping center in New Jersey.

2 thoughts on “Holocaust Survivor Tale by Former New Rochelle Teacher”

  1. I know that Mr. Sommers is
    I know that Mr. Sommers is still in New Rochelle. I had the priviledge to meet him this past friday!

  2. Please If anyone could help
    Please If anyone could help me I am a college student at Purchase college writing my senior thesis on Holocaust survivors and I have seen one of Jay Sommers talks and would really like to contact him by e-mail to ask if it would be possible for me to talk to him.
    If you can help me please e-mail me back my address is rebecca.moore@purchase.edu
    Thank you so much
    Hope to hear from someone soon.

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