Monday, January 3, 2011

AViD Author Marion Blumenthal Lazan Continues to Inspire

For the first time ever, a school in Germany has been named for a living Jewish woman Holocaust survivor. If you regularly attend the library's AViD Author Series, you may remember Marion's inspirational presentation at Hoyt Sherman Place Theater in April 2009.

Last week, Marion sent me a note saying that she would "love the world to know how one small German town, together with its citizens, has not look away from its past wrongs, but on the contrary, has worked to make the world a better place in which to live, through courage, love, tolerance and respect towards one another." Here is the You Tube link to a video about the naming of the Marion Blumenthal Hauptschule in Hoya.

If you are not familiar with Marion’s story, she has provided a brief synopsis, so that you will understand the importance of this honor.

Following Hitler`s rise to power, the Blumenthal family -- father, mother, Marion, and her brother, Albert -- were trapped in Nazi Germany. They managed eventually to get to Holland, but soon thereafter it was occupied by the Nazis. For the next six and a half years the Blumenthals were forced to live in refugee, transit, and prison camps that included Westerbork in Holland and the notorious Bergen-Belsen in Germany. All survived the camps, but Marion’s father succumbed to typhus just after liberation. It took three more years of struggle and waiting before Marion, Albert, and their mother at last obtained the necessary papers and boarded ship for the United States. Their story is one of horror and hardship, but it is also a story of courage, hope, and the will to survive Marion Blumenthal Lazan has for the past 20 years made it her mission to share the story of her family’s travail during the Holocaust. Upwards of one million students from over 1,000 school, and adults, have heard Marion share her story, and her important messages of love, respect, and tolerance towards one another, regardless of religious belief, color of the skin, or national origin. Now, 65 years after her incarceration in the Nazi Concentration Camp Bergen-Belsen, in recognition of the positive impact in teaching respect and tolerance to young adults, the new high school in her former “home” town of Hoya in Germany, the Marion Blumenthal Hauptschule, has been named in her honor.

Four Perfect Pebbles, Marion’s memoir, co-authored by Lila Perl and published by Greenwillow, tells the full story of Marion’s life during the Holocaust and can be found in our collection.

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