This is hair from the victims. Sometimes shaved off when entering a camp, some of the hair was removed from the corpses after being in the ovens.

After watching the 60 minutes segment about the shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue, I feel it is my duty to once again speak out and educate. I am the child of a Holocaust survivor.

The holiest holidays for jews just passed and it was noticeably different entering into our places of worship. Not only did I have to show my ticket to get into the synagogue when pulling up in my car, but also an ID and the ticket had to be presented at the entrance. We have always had security during the high holiday services but this year with two major shootings, one in San Diego, and one in Pittsburgh, things needed to be tightened up.

Germany synagogue shooting

Thankfully there were no shootings that took place in the U.S, however, in Halle, Germany, there was a shooting on Yom Kippur, a holiday known as the day of atonement. The shooter wore a recorder on his helmet and recorded a 35-minute video of himself shooting and shouting out hateful language, denying the Holocaust, and criticizing feminists and immigrants. He then declared: “The root of all those problems is the Jew”. He then drove to the Humboldt Street synagogue in Halle, where he outwardly showed all his weapons in his car. He unsuccessfully tried to enter the synagogue, which was locked and then fired at a woman passing by who spoke to him, hitting her in the back. The woman fell and he shot her several more times. After several more attempts to get into the synagogue, the shooter drove to a kebab shop nearby and shot more people inside and outside of the shop.

I am a little surprised at how quickly this story came and went on the news considering it was in Germany where antisemitism is a sensitive legacy of the Nazi era.

Statistics show that Americans think “substantially less” than 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. There is a worry about the lack of basic knowledge about the World War II genocide, especially the millennials. Additionally, statistics show that a high percentage of Americans believe people care less about the Holocaust then they used to and also believe something like the Holocaust could happen again.

These statistics are so shocking to me. I find it hard to believe that there are still people questioning the Holocaust and that there are survivors still alive telling their stories. I cannot imagine the day when the survivors are gone and there is no one left to tell their horrifying, unimaginable experiences.

My mother

my mother when she came to the U.S. from Germany

There are so many feelings and words with regards to my mother. She is my mentor, my rock, my hero. My mother is a Holocaust survivor. She lost her entire family except for her grandmother and her uncle. There are only approximately 100,000 survivors left in the world. What my mother went through as a child is inconceivable. From having her father taken away to a death camp and never seeing him again, to living underground in a hole, in a farm shed, and eating the lettuce from a rabbit’s cage because she was starving, to watching her mother die of starvation. It doesn’t sound real and some people don’t believe that these types of stories happened. My mother has suffered a lot but she has gained a beautiful life with my father, a marriage of 65 years, with three children and nine grandchildren. She is the most generous and giving woman. She lives for her family—it is what matters the most.

My momma, a holocaust survivor

Whenever I feel like I am having a bad day or I am down about something, I think of my mother and what she has gone through. To me, nothing could be worse than her past. I am so blessed and grateful for my life each and every day.


Our children not only need to be educated about the holocaust but equally important is understanding Genocide. Genocide is an intentional action to destroy a person in whole or in part. There is a lot of hate in this world. If we can just show goodness in our own lives and treat others, even in our own families, through acts of kindness and love, that it will hopefully counteract the hatred that exists.

If you want to learn more about the Holocausts and other Genocide stories, you can contact the Shoah Foundation. The Shoah is an institute that provides a visual history archive of more than 55,000 video testimonies. The interviews were conducted in 65 countries and 43 languages. The majority of the testimonies contain a complete personal history of life before, during, and after the interviewee’s firsthand experience with genocide. If you or you have a child or know someone who has never seen a testimonial before, I suggest watching one. It’s life-changing.