A group of local second-generation Holocaust survivors have written and published a book documenting their families’ experiences during World War II. Testaments of Courage in the Holocaust is a compilation of true stories told by the authors that describes the courage and resilience of their family members who escaped the Nazis’ final solution.
“Putting this book together was a labor of love for me – a gift to the dear friends I met when I joined a Storykeeping Workshop sponsored by the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center.” said Melanie Roher, one of the authors of the book. “When I listened to everyone’s stories during the class, I wanted to remember them, and not lose them over time. It has been a joy to work with each of my classmates, whose parents’ stories now live on these pages.”
Roher lives in White Plains, NY, and she is a member of the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center (HHREC) GenerationsForward Speakers Bureau, a second and third generation group that includes children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors who appear at area schools, synagogues, churches, and other community events. HHREC Memory Keepers are trained speakers who tell their family’s story from their next generation perspective, adding new meaning to the survivors’ powerful stories of witness.
Other local authors whose stories appear in the book include Pat Gaston (Irvington), Tina Goldman (Ossining), Michelle Griffenberg (Tarrytown), Ziporah Janowski (Croton on the Hudson), Gloria Lazar (Tarrytown), Joan Poulin (Somers), Vivian Pronin (Hastings-on-Hudson) Helen Rubel (Irvington), Dennis Schoen (Fairlawn, NJ), and Debby Ziering (Greenwich, CT.)
In the book Forward written by Lazar, she describes her experience working with fellow authors. “The personal histories in this book reflect months and years of research and reflection by a group of second and third generation descendants of Holocaust survivors, and in one case, a child Holocaust survivor. During the winter and spring of 2019 we met in a workshop each week and engaged in the arduous process of dissecting and writing our family histories. We searched through letters, diaries, photographs, audio, and video tapes – every form of record – to uncover the struggle, displacement and survival of our family members who emigrated to the United States from almost every country in Europe where Jews were hunted by the Nazis. They are remembered by daughters, sons and grandchildren determined to document the courage of these brave individuals who escaped the Nazis’ final solution. The difficult journeys taken by our families reflect the ultimate triumph of the human spirit against the inhumane efforts by the Nazis to eliminate the Jews of Europe. We honor these brave men and women whose DNA we possess and whose spirit we hope to illuminate in our stories.“
The book is available for sale on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Testaments-Courage-Holocaust-Children-Survivors/dp/B0C87SSX3L and is available for teachers to utilize in their classrooms from the HHREC Anna & Nicholas Elefant Library in White Plains.
Five contributors to the book are scheduled to appear on the HHREC Memory Keeper Story Hour Wednesday, April 10 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. For more information about HHREC GenerationsForward Memory Keepers speakers and other education programs, events and resources offered by HHREC, visit HHRECNY.org.
News & Photos Courtesy of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center