There's really no better way to tell this story than to just share the layout.
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Emily will remember this day for the rest of her life. Back in third grade, Emily asked for a copy of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” She read it cover-to-cover immediately. And then read it again. And again. And now has read it more times than she can count. She collects anything to do with Anne Frank - including every book written about her, her family, or the Holocaust. She has visited the Holocaust Museum in D.C. twice and her dream is to work there one day or at the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam. She has many, many favorite authors that have written about the Holocaust as well, and has read just about all the Holocaust survivor stories that she can get her hands on. One of her favorite memoirs is “Four Perfect Pebbles” by Marion Blumenthal Lazan.
Last week, Emily came running in the front door from school, gasping for breath and croaking out, “Mom! Marion Blumenthal Lazan is in TOWN. We have to go! We have to go see her!” And so we looked and it was true. Mrs. Lazan was in town for Temple Beth-El’s Kristallnacht commemoration and Tom took both Emily and Andrew to hear her speak. It was incredibly moving to all of them. Emily cried and soaked in every single bit of time listening to her. And cried even harder after Mrs. Lazan revealed that she has been at Bergen-Belsen with Anne Frank. While Emily knew that Anne was at Bergen-Belsen, Mrs. Lazan had been at several concentration camps and Emily hadn’t realized that her time at Bergen-Belsen had overlapped with Anne’s. I don’t think Emily had ever imagined that she would be able to experience that type of connection with two of her heroes in her lifetime.
Afterwards, Mrs. Lazan sat down and signed books for everyone. Neither Tom or Emily had realized that she was going to be signing so Emily didn’t have a book with her and, to Tom’s total dismay, he didn’t have any cash with him to buy her another copy. But in the spirit of the day, an older woman in line heard Emily talking about Mrs. Lazan and bought Emily a copy saying simply, “It’s my gift to you.” Emily cried some more and Mrs. Lazan came out from behind the table and hugged Emily. She even let Tom take her picture with Emily and Andrew.
There probably aren’t enough words or the “right” words to convey how moved Emily was by the entire experience. One of the most memorable quotes from Mrs. Lazan was this - “You are the last generation that will hear these stories firsthand. Please share my story or any of the Holocaust stories you hear about. Someday share them with your children, and even with your grandchildren. When we are not here any longer it is you who will have to bear witness." And that is exactly what Emily plans to do.