Normally on Wednesdays, I share videos to music we love to listen to at our house. That will continue, but I wanted to interrupt for one day to share a short video from the website FourPerfectPebbles.com featuring the Holocaust survivor Marion Blumenthal Lazan.
My younger kids and I got the chance to meet and hear Marion speak yesterday at a local Catholic school, and it was very moving.
Marion (along with Lila Perl) is the author of Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story. When her family came to the United States after the war, she ended up in Peoria, so she has been back here several times for talks since her book was published.
I heard her speak at our local Barnes & Noble back in 2004, and I was so moved that I bought a copy and had her sign it. My children were all too young to read the book at that time, but a few years later my oldest read it. When I heard she was going to be in Peoria again, I found it on the shelf and had the younger two read (or begin it, in the case of my youngest) it before we heard her speak.
The book of her story of surviving the Bergen-Belson concentration camp and the aftermath of World War II is excellent and well worth reading. But her presentation was unforgettable.
The Youtube clip is just a short portion of the hour and half presentation (including wonderful questions), but it captures some of her spirit and message. Here’s one great thing about her presentation (and the book): it was factual and she didn’t shy away from some of the graphic details of living in a concentration camp, but she did not dwell on those details. So even though the presentation was intended for fifth grade on up, even younger kids with longer attention spans would be able to learn from her without being traumatized.
I found her husband, Nathaniel Lazan, to be just charming, and so here is a quick cellphone snap of him from yesterday. He takes wonderful photos of her speaking and accompanies her around the world to share her story and her message:
Finally, I couldn’t resist sharing one book of fiction about this time period that is great for younger kids to read.
Number the Stars is Lois Lowry’s Newberry award-winning story of a young girl in Denmark whose family is involved in hiding and transporting Jews to freedom. Definitely worth a read; our girls book group read this book several years ago, we had a memorable discussion and activities related to the book.