It was an honor to speak at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) on Friday, October 23. This is the oldest Holocaust museum in the United States. In 1961 at Hollywood High School, a group of Holocaust Survivors taking English as a Second Language classes found one another and shared their experiences. They discovered that each of them had a photograph, concentration camp uniform, or other precious primary source object from the Holocaust era. They decided that these artifacts needed a permanent home where they could be displayed safely and in perpetuity. They also wanted a place to memorialize their dead and help to educate the world so that no one would ever forget. Some of these founding Survivors remain active on the LAMOTH Board of Directors today.
Before my talk, I passed out various titles of my children's books as examples of the student's work. Michael Morgenstern of Los Angeles was flipping through the book that was handed to him which was titled The Leica Train to Freedom by Taylor Beitzel. He stopped at the two-page bio in the back where he saw the name Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith. Rabbi did the detective work bringing to light the story brave rescuers, the Leitz family, who saved Jews during the war. The amazing thing is that Michael is Rabbi's cousin and they were together in London a few months ago. We couldn't believe that out of all the books being shared that day, this was the one that ended up in his hands. It's such a small world!
Ms. Jordanna Gessler introduced me to the work of an organization called 3G which stands for third generation since the Holocaust. This group consists mainly of grandchildren of survivors. Education is a strong emphasis of the group and we plan to inform them of the simple storytelling process of A BOOK by ME. These books, written and illustrated by children for children, become a powerful educational tool in a very small package.
"Hearing your presentation brought the stories to life and really made me
feel close to the desire to share my own grandparents' stories."
Director of Educational Programs
Co-Chair 3G @ LAMOTH
I was able to meet many survivors while I was in southern California and share the vision for A BOOK by ME. It was a very successful trip and one I will never forget.