My parents were holocaust survivors. I’ve always been interested in hearing their stories and would encourage them to share their experiences with my children. I read books on the topic and as an artist I paint commemorative pieces as well.
Last year, a close friend of mine joined her children for the seder and naturally Pharaoh and the story of the Jews in Mitzrayim were discussed at length. The children all knew the stories. My friend brought up the Holocaust as a comparison, and she was shocked to learn that the children’s knowledge was minimal at best. How could it be, she asked, that year after year, children are taught about the events leading up to yitzias mitzrayim, but there is no curriculum for Holocaust studies in her grandchildren’s schools. How could it be, that even the youngest of children know that the Jews were enslaved and tortured by the Egyptians, but nothing of the horrors that their own grandparents went through.
Her words stung me. I can only imagine how she must have felt. I felt embarrassed for my generation, ashamed of our schools. What can I say in our defense? Nothing at all. But moving forward there is much I could do – and it became my mission. I started by researching the availability of Holocaust books for children. There are books out but nothing appropriate for younger children, I’m talking about five to eight year olds. The books were either too scary or they were fictional depictions of events. I decided to fill that void and that is what led me to write The Promise.
Their Story is an important part of our History!