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Remember This

papa felice baby

Me and Papa

Today is Yom HaShoah, a day of remembrance for the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. It’s also a day I celebrate those who survived. Those courageous men and women, boys and girls, who found the strength to keep going, to hold on, who had luck on their side. In particular, I remember my grandparents. Had either of them succumbed to the nightmare that was their daily life for five years, I would not be here. If they hadn’t come to this country with the determination to make it, the willingness to work hard, I would not be here.

But I am here.

To show my appreciation I have been educating others about the Holocaust for the last six years. On April 13 I had an opinion piece in the New York Daily News about Sean Spicer’s insensitive comments, about my grandfather and about the book we wrote together. When What Papa Told Me, a memoir I wrote as a gift for Papa, came out in 2010, I never expected to sell one copy. To date I’ve sold over 30,000 copies around the world, have spoken to thousands around the country and had the book translated into Polish. Recently I received a request to have it translated into Japanese.

Let me write that again, Japanese.

When my grandfather was on his last legs at the end of the war, weighed 78 pounds and spent his days hiding among piles of rotting dead bodies in Bergen Belsen, did he imagine the story of his survival would become a book to be read by many? Not in a million years. But it has. Today I remember my grandparents, I remember what they went through and I give thanks to them for never giving up. It’s the least I can do.

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