Three of our authors were invited to present a session during a one-day conference of Jewish learning sponsored by the Detroit affiliate of LIMMUD. Rita Benn, Avishay Hayut and Natalie Iglewicz read moving excerpts from their stories and responded to audience questions. Among the audience participants was a second-generation descendent of the Holocaust from the Detroit area. She remarked how much aspects of our experiences resonated with her childhood and expressed her appreciation of the gift that this book now offered her: no longer feeling as alone and different from others.
“As I learned more about my parents’ past, it’s understandable that I also grew up worrying a lot, mainly about disasters happening," recounted Julie Ellis, reading an excerpt from her chapter from our book. She, along with two other contributing authors, Eszter Gombosi and Cilla Tomas, shared a few moving vignettes about what they learned about their’ parents’ wartime history and its impact on them to a riveted audience at the Dexter District Library on October 18, 2022.
On October 12, the Florida Holocaust Museum hosted a panel presentation about our book. Ruth Finkel Wade was joined by Rita Benn in person and Joy Wolfe Ensor by Zoom. Over 45 people pre-registered for the event and a few more than this number attended. After our book introduction and excerpted readings, Erin Blankenship, the interim Executive Director, jumpstarted the Q & A with a few thoughtful questions, for example: "Did any of the authors have memoir writing experience or plans to write individual memoirs after this anthology? What are the commonalities that we see in the second generation experience? What is the one takeaway that we each hope people will walk away with after reading our book? These questions and our responses so engaged the audience that the questions kept coming one after another and we went past the projected time frame to end. You may listen to a recording of this presentation.
Ruth and Rita were delighted to sign additional books and to meet so many people of different ages who were deeply moved by our stories. They were particularly thrilled to see so many 2Gs in the audience and to find additional Ann Arbor roots in our audience - a former University of Michigan alumna who attended the university in the 1950's. It is indeed a small world!
What brings people out to listen to our book talks? Nancy Szabo and Natalie Iglewicz began their panel presentation at Tamarack District Library in Lakeview Michigan on October 11 with this very question. For some attendees, it was a keen interest in world history. For others, there was a personal connection - a relative who served in the army liberated Bergan-Belsen, one of the many concentration camps. Still for others, it was the desire to learn more from the Second Generation and gain insight into how to stand up to Holocaust denial and prevent future discrimination of this proportion from ever happening again. We are grateful for the engagement of the audience in listening to our stories and feel affirmed of the wide appeal and impact that our book can have.
"Every survivor has stories of incredible luck regarding their escape from death,” says Rita Benn, the daughter of two Holocaust survivors, to Cynthia Reynolds, a reporter who interviewed her for an article in the Ann Arbor Observer. "As amazed as I have been by the horrors my parents endured, I have been equally astounded by the miracles that enabled their survival—the extraordinary acts of courage, devotion, and resilience.” In the book The Ones Who Remember: Second-Generation Voices of the Holocaust, Rita Benn and her 15 co-authors describe the impact of growing up with both the known and unknown stories of their parents' Holocaust experience. One of Rita's recollections of unexpected grace particularly moved this reporter. Read the article Family Secrets published in the October issue to find out! Hope this encourages you to buy our book or invite us to your book club or organization to share our stories.