“All I have is my story”. That is what I tell people when I speak.
I am not an expert on World War II or a professor of history or anything like that. I just have a story that moves people. Especially kids. Because I was just a little kid like them when the Holocaust began, and my life turned into a nightmare.
When I speak, it makes me feel closer to my lost family. It helps me to heal. But I also speak because maybe it helps other kids to heal too. We live in a world where people are mistreated every day. Racism, Anti-Semitism, immigrants…. I could go on and on.
People hear my story and they can relate to it. It gives them hope that they can survive the hatred. And maybe, if enough people read my story, they will learn to be more tolerant of people who are not just like them. Sometimes it gives them the courage just to survive.
Last March, when I was speaking in Yorktown, Indiana, a little boy named Tyler told me that he had had two brain surgeries. He said he is also the boy who refused to die.
Recently, a survey was released about how much people know or don’t know about the Holocaust. The Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study found that 7 out of 10 Americans (70%) say fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust than they used to. And a majority — 58% — believe something like the Holocaust could happen again.
There was lots of terrible news in this survey. But there was a little bit of good news, too.
- There is a desire for Holocaust education and improvement in the quality of Holocaust curriculum.
- Virtually all U.S. adults (93%) believe all students should learn about the Holocaust in school.
- 80% say it is important to keep teaching about the Holocaust, so it does not happen again.
Here is a link if you want to see the whole thing Holocaust Knowledge & Awareness Study Executive Summary 4.10.18.docx.