Elementary School Students
"Fourth, I don't care what anyone says. Your the best. You rock! You're my hero." You're a real Role Model."
"I hope that you come to my middle school next year to tell your story."
Middle school students
"You changed my life because now I know to never give up and have hope."
"I am lucky that you went to my school or I wouldn't have learned anything about positive behavior."
"I would love it if you were able to come back to our school and teach us more about what happened so the holocaust would definitely not happen ever again. Sami you inspire us all. YOU ROCK SAMI!"
"I promise I will never forget your inspirational words. I will change my ways to be a more forgiving and kinder person. I will always remember you as a survivor, moral witness, and mostly my HERO."
"You helped us learn a lot. ..... For example you told us there were labor camps and some people had experiments done on them. I only knew about concentration camps."
"You are a great friend to my school and I."
"Thank you because now I'm really going to try harder to improve the relationship with my stepmother."
"P.S. your story was overwhelming and I promise I'll pass your story to my children."
"In the future, when I'm in a hardship, your strength will help me through it. 'If Sami went through harder stuff than me, why can't I?' I will also tell my children this story."
"When you asked where I was from I told you Africa, simply because that is where I thought my family was from. After doing the research I found out my family originated from Germany. Silesia, Germany which is now a part of Poland. Finding out where my family is originally from has only created a somewhat obsession to my family and I to find our more of my family's history."
"I was lucky enough to meet a survivor and it changed my entire life..."
"Not becoming a victim to injustice is the biggest form of resistance anyone can do."
"As I listened to you speak, it really made me think about how adversity makes you a stronger person."
"During your wonderful presentation, I learned things that were new to me. I never knew that the Holocaust spread out all the way to Romania and Ukraine."
"Today, I learned that there were different types of camps. Camps like, death camps and labor camps. I also learned about the trains. How people are packed in. They would have to go many days without food or water."
"I learned so much from you, I thought that knew everything their is to know about the Holocaust but you've proved me wrong."
"You are a great role model for the whole world. You have taught me not to hate."
"I've been having a hard time at home and I tend to overthink things in a bad way. You showed me that you can find positivity in anything. Thank you."
"Im happy right now because some of the things you said made me think about the situations I'm in right now. I know how to deal with things in other ways."
"I don't mean to make any first time judgements, but in the small time you talked to us I could tell you are a genuine, trustworthy, straight up and warm hearted person."
"The first thing I said when my parents asked what I did today at school I told them about you."
"I was thinking about what you said about depression. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. You told us to allow ourselves to feel whatever we are feeling and move on. I don't know how to do that. I'm scared. ....But I will try."
"It was an honor to meet you and learn about your experience. You're also very funny and not at all what I expected, but in a good way. It felt like such good energy in the room."
"One thing you said was that when you're going through something and start feeling a certain way, go through it but don't dwell on it. I'll remember that. Thank you."
"From you I've learned that we all have different cultures, heritage, religion and skin color but we are all one race, and that will stuck with me forever. Sami you are a complete inspiration and I wish you the best."
"You taught me to forget the past and to forgive someone I must first forgive myself. Not only were you truthful but you didn't speak to us like we were children and that shows respect."
"When at first was learning about World War II it didn't seem real, but when you told the class about your experience it all came to reality."
"Out of all the motivational speakers yours touched me the most. Because, not only did you have a great story to tell. Or that you had said how you don't regret any of the bad things that happened to you. But, your words were very touching and different."
"Do you know what really made me think? You said something along the lines of "There is only one race, the human race." When I shared that with my parents they told me to share it with my younger siblings so they know from now, not to judge a book by its cover."
"I'm so inspired.....When you talked about never bullying and never to be a bully. It is important to me because I've been bullied since 2nd grade. Your words meant a lot."
"I love the way that you were an open book. I promise to you that I will try to live by the lesson that you taught me yesterday. I was really surprised by how you explain everything in detail. You have really made a great impact on my life."
"The part of your presentation that hit my heart the most was when you said that we were all your children. Having the strength to stand up for a long period of time while you were in pain showed me that I'm not as weak as I may perceive myself to be."
"It truly was an unforgettable experience. Your genuine words were extremely inspirational to me. I truly believe that the world needs more people like you; people with good character, a positive attitude, and a great heart. Words cannot express my gratitude towards you. Please continue to do what you do so well."
"Even though you've been through hell and back, you still seem so optimistic. I like the way you spoke to us: there was a painful honesty to your words."
"You're just such an open, genuine person and I can relate to all of your lessons. I'm really going to take your words to heart. I promise I'll treat people like individuals, remain optimistic, and not believe everything I hear."
"You have spoken many words, but you specifically said something that stood out to me most. You mentioned that you can't dwell in the past because you're wasting time. This shows me that life is short and by letting your past affect you, you are not living life to the fullest."
"I found your story inspirational. I liked how you talked to us like young adults instead of like children. The lessons you taught to us were great. Like how one action leads to another. I also liked how you were very honest with your feelings and experiences."
"I appreciate how open you were. I love how you told us to always be happy with what you get. Your optimism is enviable. You inspired to always appreciate every little thing that is given to me and also the things that I work so hard for. You showed me to never give up and that's what I aspire to do for the rest of my life."
"You made me want to change my act because we don't live very long."
"Your story inspired me to not give up. When you first told us you were homeless, I couldn't tell. You kept saying not to give up and now I never will. I have been sharing your story with my family. They found it inspiring as well."
"I never met a holocaust survivor before, so I was really excited. You asked me if I knew where my family came from; I didn't know at the time. I asked my mother and father, they were a little bit confused on why I cared. They told me that on both sides they are very mixed: Britain, Guyana, Grunada, India, Caucasian and maybe a little bit of Asian from my mother's side. My father has the Indian, British and Grunada part. My mom has the Guyana, Caucasian, and Asian part (maybe). To be honest I never really cared where I came from because I felt like I was born here so I'm American. But, now thinking about a whole group of people trying to be removed from the face of the earth just because of religion. It makes me want to find out who I am, and be proud of it, so if it happens again I'd still be strong."
"I think what hit me the most is that despite all the things the Germans did to you, you still forgave them. When I was five my dad left my mother me for another women. I use to see my mom get physically abused and I couldn't do anything to help her. After all the things he did to us, I could never forgive him. He hurt me way too much and only my mother and I know what we had to go through because of what he did. But your words really opened my eyes. I have to let go of the past and forgive him. That is the only way I can be happy. Thanks to you I know think I am ready to forgive and move on. Thank you so much for your words and your sympathy. I think I will never forget you and your impact on me."
"Being one of the only Jewish kids in my school, I've always been curious about the Holocaust since I've had so few people to ask about it. I listened to every word you said because your experiences and challenges have inspired hundreds of children and teenagers to succeed. Especially recently my life has seemed to be problem after problem, in school and out of school. The way you overcame every situation you faced honestly puts life in perspective for me. The problems I go through seem nowhere near the ones you do. This has taught me to be humble & grateful for my life, no matter what I face. G-d has a plan for us all, and His plan for you is to inspire people like me. Thank you."
high school students
"Your presentation gave me a better understanding of the lives of holocaust survivors."
"This was better than a history lesson we usually have, because this time it was a Jew who was telling a real experience of his own life so it seemed more real."
".....you said through the Holocaust you was almost dying from starvation and a German woman risked her life and her family's life to bring you bread because of your condition."
"In your presentation I liked how you were being very honest, and took the time to answer every question asked."
"There was also a quote that was said that I fell in love with, and wrote it down in my notebook. "Never judge a person by the group they are apart of, A person represents their self and only their self". That was the best quote I ever heard."
"We will build on what you have set for us and we will learn from the past."
"Thank you for changing my life and inspiring me to be a better person and to continue to speak out against injustices in humanity."
"The torch has been passed over and I will make sure the flame never dies out."
"I personally loved your message concerning the 'difference' between a problem and a challenge. I must be honest; before I heard you explain the difference between the two words I never really saw it. Now thanks to you Sami I see how I can turn a situation around by addressing my problems as challenges. It is one thing o solve a problem, but it is another to overcome a challenge!"
"Your outlook on life has definitely changed my perspective."
".....your story has inspired me to look at people not for their physical religious approaches. But, to judge their character and how they respond....."
"You were a very inspirational person and had some amazing advice. Ever since you have come I have thought about what you have said.I have been trying my best to be the best person I can be so I can make a difference in the world."
"You opened my eyes to many new perspectives that I would not have if you did not come to our school and speak."
"It really helped me hearing you speak and talk about never losing hope. I can't relate exactly to you but, I could relate. I am only 18 but I have already been homeless because I struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction. I had a rough go of things not so long ago, but I got my act together and moved myself into the sober house and have been sober for 7 months. I lost hope completely about ever amounting to anything in my life. Listening to you really helped me. So thank you."
"We look forward to having you return in the future to continue the partnership we have created."
"Our tour guide, Mr. Sami Steigmann, made the experience personal. Sami was an excellent story teller who was able to engage the students with a special story or joke."
"That your visit was well-received by all of my students is an understatement."
"All three presentations were tailored to the interests of the audience, and Sami's interactive style and humor eased the discussion about some of the worst crimes ever committed."
"Without a doubt, you left a lasting impression on each and every student who got to hear you speak. I look forward to having you come next year."
"I would like to personally thank you from the bottom of my heart for speaking to my class. You truly showed that you are a man of strength, wisdom, bravery, and courage. Your philosophy on life is one that we can all admire deeply. I am so proud to have had you speak with my class. My students and I will always remember this special moment."
"I wanted to reach out to thank you for providing so much information to the kids. For me it was especially meaningful because I have such an interest in the Holocaust but have never had a chance to spend time with someone who actually lived through it. I must tell you that I could have listened to you speak for hours. You are truly an amazing man and an incredible gift to all of those who hear you speak."
"I am sending this email to thank you so very much for introducing us to Mr. Sami Steigmann. After today's visit, he has become more than a visitor to us, but is now a friend and a member of our family. Words can't express how much Mr. Sami's visit means to me personally, but has also meant to my kids and the wonderful people that I work with."
"Elena, I wrote to you just a couple of weeks ago and told you how much this experience would mean to me and to my kids. I am now writing you to tell you that this experience was so much more than I expected."
"You made my day and all of my students."
"We are blessed to have met you :)"
"You always have a huge impact on the children, and it is always great to see you."
"Boy, the Hudson Valley will never be the same after Sami came calling!"
"Thank you so much for presenting to our students last Friday, May 8th. Our students especially loved the humor, honesty, and life lessons that you incorporated into your presentation."
"One of my students was so moved by your story that she decided to make her memorial in dedication to all of those who were affected by medical experimentation during the Holocaust."
"Again, it was such a memorable day for Pelham Lab, and we hope to continue this tradition."
"We love having you and the children are forever touched by ur story! Hope to see you again next year!"
"Thanks so much for coming. We all admire and love you."
"I will never be able to thank you enough for all that you have done for me and all of the students. I hope that my words express how I feel. I am so thankful that our lives crossed paths. I truly think that we were meant to connect."
"You gave them such an incredible experience that they will never forget and pass down from generation to generation!!!"
"From the faculty and students of the RSS High School, I want to extend our profound thanks for your extraordinary presentation. Not only have a number of students and teachers told me how much they were moved - and learned - from you, I am also getting notes and calls from parents who have heard from their teenagers about the morning."
"Our students were engaged from the moment you entered our building up until the moment you said goodbye. Our students not only learned about history but you made your experience relevant to their lives. They connected with you on a human level that was beautiful to witness. Our kids have officially 'adopted' you and can't wait until they see you again. Thanks again for sharing your story and I look forward to our continued partnership."
"You are a true promoter of positivity in life."
"His message was dynamic, authentic, and most meaningful for our students and staff. I truly appreciate the emphasis he placed on life lessons and tolerance. Our students and staff will certainly remember his presentation for years to come."
"After many weeks of preparation I met the man who would be the Star of our Program, and his name was Sami. He was sweet and kind and one of the most honest people I've ever met."
"Sami taught the crowd to live life to the fullest, to enjoy life, and accept everyone. Sami, you changed my life, and even though I've only known you for a few days, I love you and am glad to call you my friend!"
"Sami, thank you so much for talking to Hillel at Mississippi State University last night. You have touched our lives. My daughter, Abby, is 14 and is in awe of you. You are a survivor. Last night, you taught her not only of atrocities in your life and in the life of millions of others in the world, but you taught her that even in the worst of times, you survived. You smile. You put one foot in front of the other. That is a lesson I was not able to teach her. My son, Jacob (in Hillel), hasn't stopped talking about you. I lost my father a year ago to brain cancer. Jacob told me there was something about you that reminded him of his Zaida. Last night, I saw it as well. So, I also thank you for whatever it was, bringing my dad back to life and for passing the spirit of life that you share since he is no longer able to share it. With a full heart of love."
adults (VARIOUS AGES)
"You are not just an educator - you are an inspiration."
"I have always strongly believed in the power of positive thinking but now, after meeting you, I am thinking about turning this positive attitude into positive action. I hope to one day leave the impact on others the same impact you left on me."
"My husband, Daniel, and I really appreciated learning firsthand about your experiences. You helped us to gain a much deeper understanding about the Holocaust and about how it affected people on a personal level. Importantly, you helped us to understand more about the present as well."
"Your spirit adds an incredible amount of positive energy to all that is around you. I enjoy being uplifted by that."
"What an amazing impact you were able to have on so many young people in just a few short days. They will remember your words for many years to come!"
"We were and are so honored to have had you as our featured speaker to enlighten our students. You connected so beautifully with them. Lisette and I and her cousins were talking well into the evening about what a wonderful presence you were – I want you to know how grateful we are to you for having joined us."
"The museum is indeed fortunate to have him conduct tours and I hope many more visitors in the future will have the benefit of his dedication to his docent work."
"Your powerful words and descriptive stories captivated our audience. It is important to have a speaker like you who can reach out to a varied audience and ensure that all in attendance appreciate the meaning of this Commemoration."
"We received many messages and phone calls letting us know how moved they were by your presentation, particularly by your upbeat character which radiated throughout the room."
"He is a life mentor."