by Strohmann Breeding


 “I hope the class inspires the attendees with the courage, bravery, and undying joie de vivre of these young people.  Especially my family, but also through some of the writings of Anne Frank, the lesson these young Jewish people have for the world is the realization that it is not what happens to you, but how you respond to it that determines the life you will live.

-OLLI Instructor Brenda Hancock


In preparation of the upcoming OLLI class: “The Holocaust: We Knew, We Lived It, We Told – Does It Make a Difference?” OLLI instructor Brenda Hancock answered some questions about her life and the upcoming class she will be teaching.

Brenda Hancock was born in Dallas, TX and graduated from Irving High School. She would go on to earn a Bachelor of Arts from East Texas State University in Math and English and earned a Masters of Education in Elementary Education and French. Hancock would go on to teach various levels of French, English and Math for 37 ½ years in Texas, Missouri and Arkansas as well as with the Department of Defense Schools in Taegu, Korea and in Frankfurt and Heidelburg, Germany.

Hancock’s mother escaped from Paris in 1942 with the birth certificate of a Catholic girl and worked with the Forces Francais De L’interieur (The French Resistance) in Marseilles and Agen as well as along the route between Agen and Germany before returning to Paris. Hancock’s uncle, Robert Clary is the only one of 14 immediate family members who survived concentration camps and returned to Pa

OLLI Instructor Brenda Hancock has authored books and taught classes on her family and the Holocaust.


Having this first-hand knowledge, Hancock plans to teach using her mother and uncle’s biography and Anne Frank’s diary. In addition, Hancock has used Serge Klarsfeld’s Memorial to the Jews Deported from France 1042-1944 and research done by Teresa Pollan at the National Holocaust museum in Washington D.C.

Hancock plans to compare and contrast the experiences of three Jewish teenagers during World War II, one who hid with her family, one who hid in the open, and one who survived 31 months in 4 different concentration camps. In addition, Hancock hopes to convey a spirit of hope found in all three and to hold a discussion with the members of the class to determine how people today can benefit from knowing their experiences in order to prevent another atrocity such as the holocaust.

Hancock also wrote a book, titled, One of the Lucky Ones, which was written about her mother’s stories of her escape and missions during the holocaust. Hancock said, “As a former English teacher who worked with a U.S. history teacher to coordinate curriculum, I could see this book as a way to put a face on the history of WWII and the Holocaust.”

Hancock hopes to inspire her students through the work of these three young, hopeful Jewish teens, and hopes to reinforce the notion of preventing prejudice and encouraging people to speak out against injustice.

The class, “The Holocaust: We Knew, We Lived It, We Told – Does It Make A Difference?” will take place Monday, November 12, 2018, from 1:00PM-3:00PM at Drake Field, Fayetteville Executive Airport, 4500 S. School Ave.