Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance

As the world celebrates the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, we in the Quad Cities will have a special Yom Hashoah event. It will be special to me because one of my foreign exchange students took second place in the Ida Kramer Children of the Holocaust Essay Contest. Kwame from Ghana will light a candle in remembrance of the six million who perished. In addition to the essay contest, Kwame has written a children's book about Sir Winton who saved hundreds of Jewish children during the war. Also lighting a candle will be an exchange student from Germany named Lynn. While in America, she has met an older German man who has told her his story. As a young man, his brother was taken to a camp for speaking out against Hitler. His is a story we will all learn from and Lynn is taking the time to tell it.

I'm humbled to announce that I, along with my colleague, Dr. Marrietta Castle, will receive the Augustana College Hope for Humanity Award at this event. Dr. Castle and I have served together for over a decade on the Holocaust Education Committee in the Quad Cities. I've learned a lot from her experiences as an educator. Marrietta devotes countless hours to A BOOK by ME proofreading the stories. It's a special night receiving this honor, but if you know me well, you know I feel the young authors and illustrators, who so beautifully preserve the important stories of World War II, are the hope for humanity in my eyes.

Our speaker is a man I've loved and respected for many years. Irving Roth, 82, is director of the Holocaust Resource Center in Manhasset, N.Y. A Holocaust survivor, writer and internationally-known educator, Irving Roth tells his incredible story in the hope his listeners will prevent history from repeating itself.

Born in Czechoslovakia, Irving Roth was 14 when he was loaded with his brother, grandparents and thousands of other Jews in his city into a cattle car on a train to Auschwitz. They were dispersed to concentration camps throughout Europe. Roth survived the atrocities of both Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, but his grandmother and grandfather were killed in gas chambers and his brother was killed in a concentration camp. His parents survived thanks to a Christian woman who hid them in her apartment.

Roth has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades for his work promoting a more accepting and diverse world. It is his life's mission to make the world a better place that has earned Mr. Roth the Spirit of Anne Frank Award. He also details his family's story in the book "Bondi's Brother."

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