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  • The Diary Of My Great Grandmother

    by: Sophie Topping Zimmerman for Fresh Ink for Teens

    Every day should be Holocaust Remembrance Day, according to the descendent of survivors.

    Sophie Topping ZimmermanThe Holocaust was an essential part of my Hebrew school education. It was something that was discussed every year. We were urged to ask our grandparents, who came from Europe, about living through the Holocaust. Several people who survived the concentration camps come to speak to us in school. Recently, I realized that my generation will be the last to hear a survivor tell the story firsthand. As time goes on, there are fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors.

    Yes, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of books containing the stories of countless survivors. Books such as “Number the Stars,” “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” and “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit” are read worldwide. Yet these literary pieces — engaging and tragic — are still fiction. Reading a fictional story is not the same as hearing a true, firsthand account of someone’s life. The emotions depicted in a story cannot compare to the emotions conveyed in someone’s telling of their experiences.

    It is essential to preserve the stories of those who experienced the Holocaust. Both of my father’s parents were young children in Europe during the war. They survived due to their parents’ foresight and the kindness of others. My grandfather’s mother, Sophie, my namesake, kept a diary of her life during the war. My siblings and I were given a copy of her journal when we started preparing for our bar or bat mitzvahs. It was truly amazing reading about her experiences and the things they had to do just to survive. Through her account, I learned about my family’s resilience. The connection I felt with the past was amazing.

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