A reader of my newsletters wondered the other day why she hadn't received one since February. The answer I gave was simple; we haven't been home long enough to work on one.
Yesterday's return flight from Israel was our 13th round trip flight since January. It was there that I spoke to a group of college students at the Ayalim Student Village in Lod. I really didn't have to explain very much to these young adults. Living in Israel, they know only too well about the Holocaust. Many had close relatives who survived, and of course, many had relatives they never knew, the ones that did not make it through.
I also made time to spend with my Holocaust best friend, Susie, a unique and incredible human being!
This Sunday, April 23rd, I have the privilege of speaking at the Yom Hashoah (Holocaust) Remembrance Commemoration at Congregation Beth Shalom in Lawrence, NY, co-sponsored by some 20 synagogues.
What makes this day so special for me is the fact that on this date, exactly 72 years ago, my family and I were liberated.
Unfortunately, my beloved father passed away from typhus just 6 weeks after our liberation, and this, after 6 ½ years of mental torment and physical abuse.
These past months, it has been more than busy for me as a Holocaust raconteur, as I know it has been for the other remaining and dwindling number of survivors who tell their personal stories.
Now in our 80's and 90's, although appearing chipper and energetic, the truth is that all this travel and constant talk is exhausting and completely draining. But 2 reasons that help us continue "going" is the knowledge that so many young adults don't know that there ever was a Holocaust, but then, after hearing our stories, the resulting beautiful and heartfelt letters received from these same students, their teachers, and in many cases, the students' parents. And I must add, the incredible warmth, hospitality and concern shown us on our travels, make each and every visit a memorable and lasting one.
The following has been our schedule since February:
In Florida, at Vero Beach High School, Temple Beth Shalom, and Saint Edward's School, all in Vero Beach - many thanks to the ever-energetic Mindy Pollack for once again being my contact person in Florida.
In New York, at St. Agnes Cathedral School, Rockville Centre, H. Frank Carey High School, Franklin Square, Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School, Oakdale, the Waverly Park, Marion Street, and West End Schools, Lynbrook, Seaman Elementary School, Jericho, and Stimson Middle School, Huntington Station.
In Alabama, at Bumpus Middle School and Simmons Middle School, Hoover, Judson College, Marion, John Carroll Catholic High School, Birmingham, Emmet O'Neal Public Library, Mountain Brook, and Liberty Park Middle School, Vestavia, with many thanks to Laura Ezell for being my excellent contact person in Alabama.
In Nebraska, at Gretna High School, Gretna, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart and Countryside Community Church, Omaha, with Liz Feldstern and the Nebraska Institute for Holocaust Education serving as the outstanding contact and organizer,
Nebraska has now become the 40th state in which I have presented!
In Minnesota and Wisconsin, at Cloquet Middle School, Cloquet, Northern Lights Elementary School, Superior Middle School, and Superior High School, Superior, and the University of Minnesota, Duluth, with Amanda Lindquist and Mary Anderson-Petroske serving as my wonderful contacts and organizers of this visit.
My deep appreciation and thanks to all the volunteers along the way who helped by driving us from and to the airports and to all the various events.
A look at my website schedule will reveal that the next several months will be similarly active.
Hope you enjoy viewing some of Nathaniel's photos.
With my best wishes and hugs to you,