Definition of optimism? Resilience? Today a Holocaust survivor says, “I am ending my life happy.”

When I was a middle-school teacher, and we read Anne Frank’s diary, I asked the class to show what the Holocaust meant to them. One girl made a collage I will never forget. On a black 11×14 piece of construction paper she pasted the letters G-O-N-E.

The 70th anniversary of the Holocaust liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp is a time to remember people’s stories about lives lost and lives kept. The survivor quoted is a man who now speaks to school groups and tells how his mother and sister were taken from him in the line to the gas chambers and killed. He was 14 and survived. Students who listen to him, and the Chancellor of Germany who wrote a letter lamenting her country’s past uplift him. Resilience is a terrific quality to nurture.

Click the link below to find stories of the Holocaust and other landmark events such as the Civil Rights era told by those who lived them.

And remember, don’t forget, that the human spirit prevails.


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